What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social media site that allows users to “pin” images and videos they find online to a virtual pinboard and share them with others. It’s similar to other social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, but users can only pin videos and images. There is also a Pinterest app for Android smartphones and for iPhones.
Pinterest is designed to be quite visual and social. Users can create as many pinboards as they’d like, based on their interests, hobbies or other categories. For example, you might create a pinboard called “Bucket List” and include images of people doing things you want to do before you kick the bucket. People can follow you on your pinboard and even repin content that they like, which adds it to their own pinboard.
Pinterest offers a bookmarking tool called “Bookmarklet” that installs to your Web browser toolbar and enables you to pin any image or video you find when browsing the Internet. You can even add a Pinterest button to your blog to redirect people to your pinboards. [Related: 5 Tips to Become a Pinterest Pro]
When you visit another person’s pinboard, you have five options for actions to perform. You can follow that person, follow a pinboard, like a specific pin, comment on a pin, or repin the pin to one of your own pinboards.
If you want to learn more about Pinterest features and other users, the Pinterest Blog gives site updates, interviews and news about what topics are trending.
The users of Pinterest
Women make up about 80 percent of the site's audience. Nearly half of them are between the ages of 25 and 44. According to a 2012 report by Experian, Pinterest was ranked nationally as the third most-popular social network based on traffic. For the month of March 2012, Pinterest had received a total of 104 million visits. Twitter, ranked second, came in at 182 million, whereas Facebook took the lead at 7 billion monthly visits.
The history of Pinterest
Pinterest was founded by three individuals: Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. They launched the website in 2010. Less than a year after launch, the website had more than 10,000 users. By the end of 2011, Pinterest had become one of the 10 largest social networks, attracting 11 million total visits per week. At the start of January 2012 the website had a reported 11.7 million unique users, becoming the fastest site ever to break the 10 million unique visitor mark.
How businesses use Pinterest
Like all social networking websites, the prospective audience was primarily the consumer. Businesses learned to take advantage of Pinterest for advertising and style trending. The layout and design of Pinterest makes the website an ideal vehicle for style-conscious retailers, which means products can more easily be visualized. Because it is such a visual medium, the Philadelphia Police Department even uses Pinterest to post images of suspects to its boards.
Ownership of content controversy
As Pinterest gained significant popularity in 2012, it received criticism from its self-imposed ownership of user content. In the website’s terms of service, it effectively gave ownership of any pinned image to Pinterest for commercial use.
This caused a great deal of uproar among small businesses that use the website to showcase their portfolio of work. In April 2012, Pinterest updated their terms of service and effectively ended their claims to ownership.