2-Minute Expert: Pinterest Online Bulletin Boards
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
February 16 2012 05:17 PM ET
Pinterest has captured the hearts, minds and clicking fingers of the Internet world, at least the female half of it. Even Martha Stewart couldn't revive bulletin boards and refrigerator magnets, but the need to display pictures of things we love never really died.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a virtual and unlimited set of bulletin boards created by its users, who are reportedly 97 percent women. Unlike other social media sites, no pithy comments are required. Rather than taking time to compose the perfect tweet or Facebook comment, Pinterest users see a photo they like and share it.
How do I get started?
You'll need to sign up for an invitation and wait a day or more, or wrangle one from a friend who has already joined Pinterest .
The site will ask you what categories you're interested in so that it can begin showing you images from other users. To add your own pictures, install the Pinterest bookmarklet in your browser for one-click pinning from Web pages. When you see an image you like, use the "Pin It" button to open a window showing photos from that page. Select the one you want, and it will be posted to your account.
Images are arranged on "boards." You'll start with generic boards like "Products I Love," but you can edit the titles and add new boards.
An iPhone app is also available.
Isn't Pinterest just a big-time sink?
Sure, you can use Pinterest to fill an empty afternoon, but it can be one helluva collaboration, organizing and archiving tool. People are using it to plan weddings, redecorate their homes and organize recipes . Designer Kate Spade uses it as her public "mood board" to get feedback on new products.
But it's easy to become overwhelmed. Emily Schildt, digital communications manager for Chobani yogurt, and a Pinterest convert, says, "If you find yourself not pinning to a certain board, you should get rid of it."
Any limitations on photos?
Pinterest's terms of service prohibit pinning images that contain nudity or are hateful. It urges pinners to "pin nicely" and use images from their original sources. For instance, if you find an image you like on Google Image Search, click through to the original website and pin from there.
Help! How do I stop email notifications?
As a new Pinterest user, alerts sent to your inbox every time someone re-pins or likes one of your pins can be gratifying. However, if you no longer want to receive alerts, log into your Pinterest account and go to your settings. Click the button "Change email notifications."
But seriously, is it just for women?
There are no rules against men joining, but guys might feel misunderstood. Minnesota State University student Kevin Gutmann was interviewed by his school paper while completing an assignment that included a Pinterest test drive.
"When you type in ‘bars,’ it came up with lemon bars," he said. "Seriously, that threw me off."