Pinterest: A new powerhouse in social media

IntroPinterestPinterest is the latest fad in social media. According to Experian Markeing Services Pinterest is now the third most popular social media site on the internet behind Facebook and Twitter. They also note the fast-growing website is directing significant business to retailers' websites.

The basic idea is you see images you like on the Internet and "pin" them to your own Pinterest page. Then other people see what you have pinned and like, tweet, Facebook or re-pin if they like it also. The Pinterest home page then shows trends in a well-laid out multicolumn format that is visually pleasing and hugely compelling.

According to USA Today's Julia Boorstin, "Pinterest hit 10 million monthly unique visitors faster than any other website, drawing comparisons to Facebook."

I find Pinterest different from other addictive websites for a couple of reasons. First, Pinterest goes at social media from the perspective of mutual interests rather than mutual relationships. Also, the site is much more visually tantalizing and more broadly accessible than video sites like YouTube or Meta-Cafe that pump Internet popularity almost randomly with surfers following links down a rabbit hole. With Pinterest I found I tended to stay more closely on the topic I had started with.

You cannot just join Pinterest though. Go to its website: There is no "join now" button. Instead, request an invitation. I'm not sure what it did to check me out in the two days it took before I was sent an invitation to join using my Facebook log on…and I did log on!

One other aspect I really like on the Pinterest home page is a drop down called simply "Gifts" with choices by dollar amounts. Finding gifts for people is something I hate, and this is nice way to look at a wide range of items in an affordable price range. Right now, most items on the gift pages seem to be for women, but with time perhaps that will even out some. Come to think of it, I mostly buy gifts for a woman anyway. It probably won't change that much.

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