What is Pinterest? & Importance of Pinterest in Social Media

What is Pinterest and Why Should You Care?

Social Media is a fast-moving area, but for a while now it’s revolved around two main sites: Facebook and Twitter. But since late last year, a new competitor has entered the fray in the form of 'Pinterest'. It enables a new form of link sharing, so whether you want to show off your latest purchase or help friends find the best products and services, Pinterest can really come in handy. With a catchy name that plays on words and a mechanic that appeals to a broad base of users, the new social network seems to be pushing all the right buttons – but is it enough the topple the heavyweights like Facebook, and will it remain relevant enough in the long term?

A Strong Foundation:

One thing that Pinterest has in its favour is money – and lots of it. The site has the backing of various venture capitalists, and has (as of March 2012) secured more than $37 million in funding. Pinterest has also benefited greatly from their ‘invite only’ model. The network spread in an almost viral manner, with invites being sent all over the web in a short space of time. In fact, Pinterest has recently become the fastest social network to gain over 10 million unique users – with this number already pushing well towards the 12 million mark. Despite all of these positive signs, Pinterest has not yet turned a profit, though this is not unusual for social networks; it took Twitter a great many years to work out how best to capitalise on its popularity.

How Pinterest Works:

The mechanic behind Pinterest is actually very similar to Twitter: users find something they like (or create it themselves via a blog or other outlet), then ‘pin’ a link to this item on their virtual pinboard. These boards can be named anything the user likes, and organised by theme. Some users may have a board called ‘Nice clothes’ which contains links to a number of products on other sites. Friends can see each other’s pinboards and explore the products and links at will, so if you want to share anything special with your friends like your best purchases, your best photos, your best products or your best charge cards, Pinterest is very useful in terms or sharing ideas and thoughts. This is the real beef of the service: link sharing. For corporate entities, there is a big opportunity here to make some real money and boost brand exposure. Pinterest features a feed, similar to other networks, which shows what friends have been pinning – so seeding a link into one of these feeds via a pinboard will be a likely objective for businesses.

Why Pinterest Matters to Users and Businesses:

It remains to be seen just how popular Pinterest will become. You only need to look at the example set by Google Plus to see how quickly initial enthusiasm can wane. The problems that Google Plus face may not be the same as Pinterest, but the principle objective is the same: find a way to keep users coming back to the site and use its features. Google’s fledgling site has suffered due to lack of promotion, but Pinterest is already becoming somewhat of a cult icon – most likely due to its viral spread. The reason the new network is of interest to users and businesses is because it offers a new way to share information over the web. Social bookmarking is nothing new, sites like Digg and Reddit have been enabling it for years, but Pinterest manages to blend services like that with the immediacy of Twitter – and it seems that’s what users have been looking for. As for how businesses can use Pinterest, it’s clear that having a product line shared on multiple pinboards can be a great traffic generator – so making it clear on a website that ‘pinning’ products is a good idea may be a solid first step.

The Bottom Line:

The future looks good for Pinterest. It still needs to find its feet in terms of making a profit, but that’s a natural hazard for all Social Networks. It’s already managed to secure tens of millions of users, and is now in the ‘danger zone’, in that it needs to capitalise on its gains. One thing’s for sure: the world will be watching Pinterest very closely; it may not be much longer that we’ll all be pinning our favourite links rather than simply Facebooking or Tweeting them.



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TechGlobeX: What is Pinterest? & Importance of Pinterest in Social Media
What is Pinterest? & Importance of Pinterest in Social Media
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