Pinterest: An image-sharing Internet sensation
Review: Pinterest, reportedly the fastest-growing website ever, combines the best parts of several social networks.
The Manila folder filled with catalog clippings, the shoebox stuffed with snippets of a dream wedding, the online bookmark linking to beautiful inspiration – all three stand poised to be upstaged by a virtual image pinboard with a social network to boot.Skip to next paragraph
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Pinterest.com is a website that allows users to "pin" interesting images onto "boards" they have titled themselves, such as "recipes to try," "wedding ideas," "nature photography," "interesting books," "cute short-legged corgis," and "science is awesome."
Although the tools – boards and pins – conjure visions of cluttered bulletin boards, Pinterest more closely resembles a collection of magazines tailored by the tastes, styles, and aspirations of its users.
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While social networks seem a dime a dozen right now, Pinterest's blend of beautiful images and an encouraging community has turned it into the fastest growing website of all time, reports Business Insider. In January, Pinterest hit 11.7 million unique users, a 40 percent jump in just a month.
These online pinboards aren't private. Anyone can browse your collection, and you can snoop through the boards of total strangers to get new ideas. If you see something appealing, you can "like" it, comment on the pins of others, and save the image by re-pinning it to your own pinboards.
Beyond idle voyeurism, Pinterest appeals to designers who collect visual ideas, artists who want to showcase their work, bloggers who want to increase traffic to their sites, crafters selling their wares, and brides-to-be searching for that perfect dress.
In other words, it's an online-shopping, scrapbookmaking, catalog-saving, Manila-folder-stuffing hoarder's dream come true.
Pinterest is an invitation-only network, but applying for the free membership is relatively easy – and even simpler if one of your friends invites you. When you sign up, the website asks what kind of images you'd like to find and then connects you with users who share those interests.
If you log on using an existing Facebook account, you will automatically start following any of your Facebook friends who are already using Pinterest. In turn, if you pin something, the image will appear instantly in your Facebook feed, so friends can see what you are drooling over, whether they are on Pinterest or not.
There are two ways to browse. You can sip from a steady live stream on the Pinterest home page, populated by the network of people you follow. Or you can monitor specific Pinterest topics, populated by all users.
Unlike other social networks, personal photos don't have a strong presence on Pinterest, although "upload a pin" (an image) is an option.