Social media trend watch: Get on board with Pinterest

If you haven’t heard of Pinterest, it might be because you’re male, or over 40. Photo: Communties at Washington Times/G. Falkenthal

SAN DIEGO, April 22, 2012 - Just when you thought you’d gotten a handle on social media by getting on Facebook and maybe giving Twitter a try, along comes Pinterest. It is the fastest growing social media website in Internet history. Yes, even faster than Facebook.

If you haven’t heard of Pinterest, it might be because you’re male, or over 40. Pinterest’s users are overwhelmingly women under 40, although men and older users are starting to catch up. It was launched quietly in March 2010, but really started taking off in the last year.

Pinterest is now the number three most-popular social network in the U.S., behind only Facebook and Twitter, according to Experian’s Digital Marketer Trend and Benchmark Report. Experian reports that Pinterest had 21.5 million visits the last week of January, which is 30 times the number of visitors over July 2011. It’s the fastest website ever to hit 10 million visitors. Pinterest beat its next-closest competitor, LinkedIn, in total visits for the first time in February:

  • Facebook: 7 billion
  • Twitter: 182 million
  • Pinterest: 104 million
  • LinkedIn: 86 million
  • Google+: 61 million

And here’s the true test of Pinterest’s success: there are now a whole bunch of pornographic Pinterest imitations.  You know you’re doing something right when people who put out smut think you’re worth copying.

Communities at Washington Times is on Pinterest, pinning and sharing our best images and stories with followers for them to enjoy and share. We love it.

So what is it? Think of Pinterest as the online version of an old-fashioned cork bulletin board. Users can create their own “boards” with any theme, such as Dogs, Recipes, Shoes I Like, or Tim Tebow. Then the user can “pin” an image or web page using the link to their board. You can add a caption or comment. Users can also “re-pin” images from other users’ boards, “like” or comment on other photos, similar to Facebook. 

Some people have described Pinterest as the world’s biggest glossy magazine, created in real time by its users and ever changing.

Pinterest often seems similar to looking through a beautiful glossy magazine, except that you and your friends are the editors. Photo: Communities at Washington Times.

Women have embraced Pinterest in droves. It’s easy to use. It’s visually beautiful. It’s not demanding. It’s like relaxing with a favorite catalog and beverage. No one is asking you to play a word game, no one is in your face ranting about politics or asking you to support a cause. No one is going on about their fabulous vacation or brilliant adorable kids.

Pinterest can seem like being with a group of your friends, looking through favorite magazines and pointing out things you like, or maybe want to buy or try. “These shoes would look great with my new jeans,” or “I’m going to try this cupcake recipe, they look yummy.” 

It’s no wonder a lot of men look at Pinterest for a few minutes and end up perplexed about why it’s so popular. But guys, don’t give up on it. Pinterest is growing beyond the shared recipes, wedding dresses and Martha Stewart tips to embrace adventure travel, sports, music and video, and much more.

It has created a new and extremely influential consumer market without even trying. A significant number of images have to do with fashion, home and garden, sports and fitness, family and pets – things people spend money on. For women consumers who get the Pinterest picture, Pinterest is searingly on trend and exciting.

Women have embraced Pinterest, and it’s easy to see why. Pinterest screen capture: G. Falkenthal

Pinterest is starting to influence purchases. According to BlogHer’s annual study on women and social media, 81 percent of the women surveyed trust Pinterest more than Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps seeing is believing. As a result, nearly half of the women surveyed bought something based on a Pinterest recommendation. Only a third of them bought something based on a Facebook recommendation. Smart brands are getting on board Pinterest.

What’s also fascinating about Pinterest is that its users aren’t the typical early adopter technology users on the two coasts. More people use Pinterest in the north central and Southeast states like Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Mississippi and Georgia. Picture a 30-something mom of two in St. Louis.

You may be sighing to yourself at this point thinking, “Oh, great. I barely have time for Facebook/Twitter/my website/my blog/email. Now I have to do this thing too?”

Pinterest is well worth exploring. There are good reasons for its growth and stunning rise in popularity. You might like it better than Facebook, and it’s a lot easier to use.

Pinterest can be set up literally in a few minutes. Putting up your boards involves nothing other than a few mouse clicks, cutting, and pasting. Pick your photos, write a few captions or comments, pin them. That’s it. There is no way to get it wrong. Pinterest can help you find people you know on the site through your Facebook friends or email addresses. Or you can simply wander through the site and look for images that interest you, and follow the person who posted them.

Pinterest access is invitation only, so find someone you know using it who can send you an invitation. Or contact me here at Communities at Washington Times with your email address and I’ll send one to you. Please follow Communities at Washington Times on Pinterest for a new way to enjoy our many columns with our world-class images front and center.

Pinterest can be addicting. You might find yourself looking at photos of cute puppies for hours. Pinterest screen capture: G. Falkenthal.

A word of warning: People find Pinterest completely addicting. They say over and over they sit down for a few minutes, look up and find that two hours have passed by. So give yourself plenty of time to explore it, enjoy it, and know how to find a good 12-step program if you get addicted.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

 

 

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at WashingtonTimes.com” when quoting from or linking to this story.   

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.

 

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