So, what is Pinterest?
I’ve just classed Pinterest as social networking, but to be strictly accurate it’s a social bookmarking site. Bear with me. Such sites, like Redit and Stumbleupon, are well-established, enabling like-minded people to discover new websites in areas that interest them.
Pinterest came along in 2010 and the clue to its philosophy lies in the name. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard - a platform for sharing pictures and videos. Its uniqueness, its appeal, and the key to its success, lie in the way it showcases these categories.
So how does Pinterest work? Pinterest organises pinboards according to categories. Click on one - I’m choosing Food and Drink here - and you will be met with an array of photographs of the subject. Each photo represents the cover of a pinboard.
I click on a tempting image labelled “Hot Fudge Pie”. The picture appears in enlarged form, and beneath it a row of thumbnails headed “Food”, from the same pinboard. An unmistakeable “Like” button at the top right enables you to, well, like it, Facebook-style.
Below the enlarged image is a further row of thumbnails – covers of pinboards created by the person who pinned our chocolatey image. Click a thumbnail and it takes you to a further pinboard by that person. You can comment on pictures, and as with Twitter, follow the person pinning them. You can also Tweet, e-mail or repin - that is, add the picture to your own boards.
Who uses Pinterest? At present, four out of every five Pinterest users are female, with a solid proportion 54 years old or over.
To register, go to pinterest.com and sign up. You can add a picture and profile if you wish.
Getting started with your own pinboards Once registered, you will see your user name displayed in the top right hand corner. Mouse over it and a drop down menu appears. Click “Boards” and you will see a row of blank boards, ready for you to fill up.
Enter a name for a board, click “Create Board”, and you’re ready to start pinning. Select a Category and you can begin uploading pictures, either from your computer or by adding pins from the internet. I created a small pinboard in five minutes flat in the Photography category, uploading photos already stored on disk.
How do I pin images from the internet? You will first need to install the “Pin it” button in your web browser. This step is a little trickier, but once done, pinning images is simple. You need to drag the “Pin It” button to your browser’s bookmarks bar – see Pinterest’s Help section if unsure. You then simply click the “Pin It” button on said bar when you see an image you’d like to pin.
You don’t have to be at home to use Pinterest. Apps for iPhone, Android and iPad enable you to pin while out and about.