I’m a prolific bookmarker.
The hierarchical directory structure I’ve created for my Internet browser bookmark folders is a thing of beauty, even if I say so myself. It’s not visually attractive, of course, but it’s sufficiently well designed that I can quickly find what I’m looking for, whether it’s the link to the hotel we stayed in when we last visited the Loire Valley or the collection of best websites to find cheap train tickets or the folder of shortcuts to national newspapers’ travel sections or the enormous collection of recipes I might someday try to make. Because I have such diverse interests, the structure has many levels, but it works for me, it does the job. And it’s that ease of use that gives it beauty in my eyes.
Where it falls down is when I can’t remember the name or details of what I’m looking for, even though I know I’ve definitely saved it, so can’t think what I might have called the shortcut or which folder it’s in.
What is Pinterest?
In many cases, the memory I have of a web page I’ve saved is purely visual – biscuits made in the shape of buttons and tied up with ribbon; fruit trees shaped into espalier forms; a great example of how to arrange lots of different sized picture frames on a wall in a pleasing way; a low-tech way of making tiny spheres of coffee to decorate desserts; a gorgeous eco-camp in the midst of an expansive desert of red dunes; topiaries shaped like elephants; a website full of pretty Moroccan-style tadelakt and tiled bathrooms; the nifty idea for a folding cupboard-cum-picnic table for an outdoor garden wall; a bacon-wrapped meatloaf recipe, a crêpe cake recipe, a pull-apart cheese bread recipe…
Those examples (and hundreds more) are why I jumped on Pinterest over a year ago.
In a nutshell, Pinterest is an image-based bookmarking system, which allows you to “pin” images onto virtual pin boards; as many boards as you wish. When the images are pinned from websites, they retain a direct link back to the page in question. It’s easy to follow other people’s boards, so you can re-pin anything that catches your eye, and likewise, other people can follow and pin your content. Click on any pin to visit the original source article.
I have a whole slew of boards for food and drink from a board showcasing entries to my Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge to ones for potatoes, cheese, bacon, sweet baking, savoury baking, deep fried treats, hot drinks and many more.
I have a board for gardening tips and ideas, one for favourite words of inspiration and quotes, another for places I’ve loved or would like to visit, beautiful photographs of wildlife and flora, a collection of ideas for my dream bathroom and dream kitchen, and even a window shopping board!
Whilst some use Pinterest as a virtual scrapbook, or to create mood boards, I use mine to collate visual bookmarks, all of which have links through to relevant content, whether it’s recipes and tutorials on how to cook or make something, travel guides to appealing destinations, or more information about an artist and their work.
I am an avid reader of many blogs and websites, and often pin articles directly, when I come across great content I want to revisit and enjoy later.
Pinterest also lets me follow my friends’ Pinterest activity, so I can see all their latest pins on my home page. And for those occasions where they have boards I’m really not interested in (shoes, weddings, kid stuff, work topics…) I can follow and unfollow individual boards rather than an entire user profile.
It’s also fun to browse pins from all Pinterest users, by category. I not only find some great content this way, but often find new boards to follow, created by people I don’t know but whose interests and tastes I clearly share. I regularly find new blogs to read too, and have added many more to my RSS reader since I started using Pinterest.
Because I believe in respecting content creators, I choose not to re-pin links to pages which have simply lifted a pretty picture from its original source, with neither permission sought nor credit given. Indeed, sometimes I end up investing a fair bit of time Googling to find an original source, and then create a fresh pin directly to it. If I can’t find such a source, I just don’t pin, regardless of how much I like the picture. As a content creator myself, I think that’s only fair.
As a blogger, I make sure I pin my own blog posts too and I always appreciate it when other users choose to pin any of them to their own boards for future reference. It’s not simply about driving traffic to the blog, though that’s a lovely benefit, but about finding another way of sharing one’s interests with a new community.
I make it easy for other Pinterest users who visit my site to Pin my content themselves, if they wish, by providing a Pin It button at the bottom of every post.
Like a comment left here on the blog, a pin of one of my posts tells me someone appreciated what I posted, and that’s a welcome pat on the back.
Registration for Brits
This month, Pinterest are inviting Brits to register on Pinterest, create their own boards and get pinning.
Why don’t you go ahead and register? And of course, follow me and my boards!