Pinterest: a new type of social network

Written by: Katharine Powell

Move over, Facebook.

There is a new kind of social network taking over computers all over the globe: Pinterest. Every day, millions of Internet users stumble upon creative and intriguing ideas that ought to be shared but are often overlooked. With Pinterest, cyber socialites can organize and share these ideas all in the same place.

According to Time.com, Pinterest was founded in 2009 by Ben Silbermann, who originally launched the site in 2009, and perfected the site in 2010. There are over 12 million visits to Pinterest each week, earning the photo-sharing site a spot on Time’s Top 50 Websites to Watch in 2011.

The website uses the concept of idea boards that many designers use to create collections, party planners use to create events and teachers use to create lesson plans. However, instead of parties or classes, Pinterest socially organizes ideas found on the Web.

When you browse the internet and come across a picture demonstrating a cool concept or crafty idea, you “Pin it” onto a subject specific board on your Pinterest profile. These boards represent a category, such as style, dream weddings, recipes or humor. Other Pinners can follow your Pins and you can follow other Pinners. This allows users to illustrate the Pinterest mission, according to Pinterest.com, “to connect everyone in the world to the ‘things’ they find interesting.”

It seems as though every time you walk into a classroom computers are turned on to Pinterest. So, what makes this photo-sharing site so addicting?

“I like Pinterest because it gives me a reason to be creative,” UA student Brittany Rhodes said. “It’s an outlet to display my enthusiasm for the things I love.”

Enthusiasm is contagious. Pinterest promotes enthusiasm by establishing the thrill of discovering new ideas and sharing them with people who have similar interests. Instead of digging up juicy gossip on Facebook, students are turning their creative energies to discover and share new ideas that can develop personal style. Instead of damaging one’s self-esteem, Pinterest focuses on positively sharing artistic perspective versus dirty details.

“They’re two different things,” UA sophomore Liz Bedell said. “If I had to give up either one, it would have to be Facebook. I’d rather develop myself than worry about other peoples’ lives.”

Right now, a Pinterest account can be obtained by invitation only. However, you can go to Pinterest.com and request in invite, where you will then have to sign the terms and conditions regarding the etiquette of proper Pinning. A full list of these rules is posted on the website.

Once you get started, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Start your own trends. There are several trends on Pinterest, but do not be afraid to start your own. That is what this site is all about!

2. Pin, don’t just Repin. Keep the Pinterest pool fresh by adding new photos of innovative ideas you find outside of other Pinners’ boards. Blogs are a great place to find things you have a personal interest in. Just don’t forget to give the website the appropriate credit.

3. Keep it classy and clean. Silbermann and the founders of the site had a specific atmosphere in mind for their site. Make sure you keep all images and comments in good taste.

Happy Pinning!