It appears to be the thing that a lot of people are talking about – the social network Pinterest that has more than 11 million users. I decided this week that it was worth having a look at what was making the online scrapbook such a fast growing phenomenon. And to also consider what it might mean for me – more friends to link to or less time in my already busy day?
Last week the Sydney Morning Herald called it Facebook for Nice People and explained how it allows you to create pinboards for the things that interest you. It allows you to have multiple pinboards that you can add your favourite things to. The article calls it ‘virtual scrapbooking’ just like tearing interesting articles and photographs from newspapers and magazines and sharing them with friends.
I am not going to outline how it works, because that is something that people need to discover for themselves. Instead, I am going to give some reasons why from my initial review companies and organisations may need to be aware of it, and could start to benefit from it.
One of the key elements of social networks is how they allow ideas, images and thoughts to be shared and circulated around the world. This is what Pinterest allows you to do. If you like what someone has pinned then you can ‘repin’ it and add it to your board. In that way images and thoughts could be shared and if they are particularly interesting to people they could go viral. If you are a communication professional this could be an opportunity for people to promote your products, highlighting what they like and encouraging others to take a look. However, if it is something they don’t like could they share it through boards?
Boards can be used to share ideas. You can start a board and then allow others to post on it. Imagine if you have an idea for an event and you want people to provide their thoughts and ideas. It could become a virtual ‘brainstorming’ session without the many emails asking for views all the ideas are in one place for people to review. So, if you are launching a product why not allow others to give their ideas and thoughts. Why not create a board for it?
Some businesses have already spotted the opportunity to have a Pinterest catalogue with images that when clicked on will take someone to a website where they can buy that product. It lends itself to this sort of activity although in my short time with it, that use is mainly by small businesses and individuals. It can help to spread the message about a small business in a way they have struggled to achieve when trying to battle the multi-million pound companies.
For communication professionals and anyone working in such environments it could become an online encyclopedia of images, ideas and thoughts to spark creativity and get people to think about a new way of doing things. Perhaps you could use it with your team.
Unlike other networks you can use Pinterest for your own thoughts and ideas. You don’t need to share it, which means you can focus on what matters to you. You can create boards of things that are just for you and if other people like it then that is a bonus.
The network has only been open to the public since August 2011 so it appears to be one of the fastest growing social networks. I am still in the early stages of using it and seeing what it might bring to my work and private lives. The good thing is that it is already doing what it set out to – making me think, look at others ideas, and get some creative thoughts of my own.