April 18, 2012 | By

To Pin or Not To Pin?

Pinterest was named the fastest growing social media site with 11.7 million monthly U.S. visitors and 10 million new members in the quickest amount of time.  In February, Pinterest accumulated more traffic to websites than Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined, according to CNNMoney.

For those of you that don’t know, Pinterest is the social site that enables users to post images from the web to their personal “pinboards.” Users can categorize their “pinboards” according to personal tastes; for example, favorite foods, adorable pets, wedding plans or future purchases. According to a recent article by TechCrunch, the average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site and it ranks among the top 30 U.S. sites by total page views.

 

What do Emily & Kristina think of Pinterest?

Emily: I think Pinterest users have real potential to gain numerous benefits from the site.  The potential was made especially clear when the magazine, Real Simple, recently said Pinterest had sent more traffic than Facebook to its site. Real Simple, which has about 206,000 likes on Facebook, already has almost 60,000 followers on Pinterest.  Real Simple’s pinboards consist of images relating to recipes, fashion and do-it-yourself home and work related projects.

Kristina: I’d like to preface my responses with the fact that I do, in fact, have a Pinterest and enjoy browsing the site about 2-3 times per month. However, I’m still not sold on all the benefits. The personal benefits to Pinterest are undeniable. In one location, I am able to house my shopping impulses, obsessions and, my personal favorite, ‘For the Home’ board. Although I partake in this community, I’m struggling to find its novelty and usefulness beyond collecting images.

My first qualm with Pinterest is that some businesses treat it as a means to increase SEO. Businesses and companies need to remember that Pinterest is a community, not a tool.  As outlined in an article from Search Engine Land, the reason businesses are failing with using Pinterest is because they are forgetting the golden rule of social media: “in order to succeed on a social network, you’ve got to give as much as you try to take.”

 

What about its value?

Emily: I find Pinterest to be most valuable when searching for specific images relating to fashion, food and interior decorating.  Pinterest can spark creativity and inspiration while writing, brainstorming, decorating or organizing.  TIME magazine has also developed many “pinboards” which archives past editorial covers.

For instance, if you were to research past publications from TIME, you could come across a cover of Grace Kelly, which could lead to wedding dress ideas, guiding you to an online store that sells the particular wedding dress to fit your preference. Pinners utilize the site in order to find something unique and memorable which is important to businesses able to sell a particular item or idea.

Kristina: Ok, TIME magazine’s Vintage TIME Covers pinboad is cool, but what value does this provide to the magazine? It’s basically just an online archive of old images that users can re-pin to their own boards. If it linked back to TIME’s archives and users were able to view and/or purchase the old issue that would really provide value to its Pinterest page.

 

Who benefits from Pinterest?

 Kristina: I actually believe that Pinterest can be beneficial for the visual community including professionals like photographers, interior designers or architects.  The visual element caters to their industry, but again, it is only really creating an online archive and yet another social media outlet they will have to manage. And these take time. It also begs the question of personal property issues. Now, these professional artist’s works can be distributed, re-pinned and easily downloaded without their knowledge and can be used by others.

Emily: The site is most beneficial to visual leaners and idea seekers.  Investors and businesses are still figuring out how the site will essentially benefit their company in the long-run, but in the mean time I find the site to be enjoyable and time well spent. Or as Reese Witherspoon expressed to Conan O’Brien, “a collection of the most amazing, wonderful craftiness on the earth!”

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