Pinterest – The Basics

Ah, Pinterest.  I am sure you have all been hearing about this amazing pinning site in the last few months.  I am here to give you the lowdown (as I see it, anyways.)  I joined/was invited to Pinterest six months ago, so I have had time to learn my way around the site and really see the benefits of it.  I have seen a major jump in users in the last month.  Wowzers!  Invitations were flying! I love that I can connect with friends by sharing all the things we find interesting. I have learned a lot about people just by looking at their pins. It’s like a glimpse inside their minds.

What is Pinterest? Wikipedia defines it as a pinboard-styled social photo sharing website.  I don’t think that begins to cover it.  While it photo-based, it is much more than just photo-sharing.  It is sharing inspiration be it fashion, food, crafts, or funnies.  Each photo, or pin,  represents a link to a website page where I can find these inspirations. Each pin is stored on a themed board.  It is a “corkboard” full of ideas that are all about me.  My recipes, my sewing patterns, my home decorating ideas – all in one convenient spot, organized onto my boards.

This is a screenshot of all of my boards. If I click on a board, it will show me all of the pins that reside within.

I chose my Pink! board as an example. You really can make a board for anything! You can see each pin on that board.

Finally, here is a pin on the Pink! board. The blue circle shows the website origin of the image. The green circle is the re-pin button. Use this to add the image to your board.

Why Pinterest?  If you are anything like me, you have a zillion bookmarks on your computer for everything from recipes, home decorating ideas, crafting/sewing tutorials, and more. How many times have you forgotten what you bookmarked or had to open them all just to find what you were looking for?  I was constantly forgetting which recipe I wanted and would spend way too much time opening bookmark after bookmark trying to figure it out. Or worse, I would forget to bookmark a recipe I liked and have to search forever online to find it again.  Pinterest offers you a neat, organized way of keeping all of these bookmarks, and missed bookmarks, in one spot.  And it includes a photo, so you always know exactly what the pin is and you are reminded of all the great pins you may have forgotten about.

Another benefit is self-promotion.  Have a website that you’d like to get noticed?  Pin it!  This is great way to show off your website and bring in traffic.  Especially good for newbies, like me. 🙂  Don’t be shy.  It is a terrific marketing tool and we all do it.

Need more convincing?  How about this. My kitty dumped a glass of water onto my laptop.  Needless to say, the laptop did not survive. No worries, the cat is fine.   Now I am left with a ton of lost bookmarks!  So many recipes and free sewing pattern links, just gone.  I was very happy that I had taken the time to pin my favorite ones.  They were still there all safe and snug on my boards.

How do I join?  To join Pinterest, you need an e-mail invitation.  You can request one from the site or Facebook fan page, but if you know someone who is using it already, it will be quicker to have them send you the invitation.  Once you get the e-mail, follow the directions to get your account set-up.  You will get a set of pre-determined boards when you sign on.  Feel free to change them, delete them, and/or add your own.  They are there just to help you get inspired.  You will also need to add the “Pin it” button to your internet toolbar.   You will use this often, so don’t skip it.  More details on how to use it below.  So you have your account, your button , and your boards.  Now what?

How and what do I pin?  There are three ways to pin.  You can use the “Pin it” button to pin something you found on the internet or you can re-pin an image you found on Pinterest.  If you have some favorite bookmarks, go ahead and start with those.  When you find, say, a recipe, that you want to save, click on the “Pin it” button and you will get a page that shows you the images available for pinning.  Pick the one you like and a “Pin this” button will hover over the picture.  Click that and a small pop-up window will give you the option to choose which of your boards you want this to go on and a section for a description.  Don’t skip the description!  A simple phrase is sufficient.  More on that later. Click “Save” and done!  The third option is to upload a photo from your computer.  This will not have a link attached.  I have yet to see the benefit of this, but it may hit me one day.

If you look closely, I have circled the "Pin it" button in red.

Sorry.  The images are smaller than I wanted, but hopefully you can see what I am talking about.  I hope this has been helpful.  I will be talking more about Pinterest over the next week or so.   There is so much I want to tell you all!!  Up next, etiquette rules and pet peeves.  Have some rules or peeves you think I might need to know?  Post them below.