A few weeks ago, I decided to see what all the hype for Pinterest was about. The site, which launched in 2010, is a virtual bulletin board to organize and share pictures and videos that you find interesting. Users can upload their own images or “repin” other people’s images, and place them on customized “Pin Boards”. Michelle Obama recently joined Pinterest and already has three boards: “Around the White House”, “Great Memories”, and “Fathers Day”. Since I rarely even post my daily status on Facebook (and even less often tweet my hourly or minute-by-minute movements), I figured I wasn’t the target Pinterest user. So I went to my 21-year old daughter and asked her opinion.
Happily, she had just spent about an hour sifting through pictures of pumpkin feta muffins, turquoise water islands, beachy decorated homes, sunglasses, places she’s been, places she wants to go to, and puppies.
According to her:
“I go on Pinterest on my iPhone when I’m waiting for the train, and I sift through it on my computer when I’m sick of Facebook. I follow the boards of some of my avid pinning friends, who go to art school and have a true talent for finding amazing pictures.”
At first glance, Pinterest seemed like little more than a fun way to pass (or waste) time. With categories like Cars, Pets, History, and Wedding Plans, it seemed rather random. However, at the urging of my daughter, I delved in. For companies, Pinterest can be both a valuable internal brainstorming tool, as well as an external branding technique. Since it’s not proper Pinterest etiquette for companies to only post their own pictures, many brands use boards to expand their image beyond their own content. Fox Searchlight has boards for each of its movies. They include onsite photography as well as behind-the-scenes stills. The clothing company Anthropologie has boards labeled “Alfresco Entertaining”, “Around the Globe”, “Away We Go”, and “Texture Study.” While they pin some of their own clothing, they also use Pinterest as inspiring mood boards. Their spring and summer photo shoots are reflected in their pins of Peru and the Bahamas.
When viewed through a corporate lens, I actually see the brains and beauty of Pinterest. In the best scenarios, it can work as an iterative design tool. It’s pretty effective and certainly efficient. On a personal level, it’s also more than a little addictive. And so I’ve got another app on my phone.
Email me your thoughts (and pins) at firstname.lastname@example.org.