Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why the Interest in Pinterest?

"Pinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest. Yikes, the noise is deafening," writes Peter Himler on his blog The Flack.

 David Pogue, in The New York Times last week, wrote that Pinterest is "...the fastest Web site in history to break the 10-million-visitors-a-month threshold."

Dealbook's Evelyn Rusli tweeted "the pinterest [sic] love fest is reaching insane levels . . . "

I first learned about from my art-smart daughter, who sent me an invitation to join. When I visited the site, I was hooked. I created a page with a few "boards." Boards are a way of sorting and categorizing one's "pins," images gleaned from other pinners, as well as Web sites. Once users add a "Pin It" button to their browsers' toolbars, they can pin from most Web sites. (Facebook is an exception, which is a good thing.) A pinned image can be repinned by other users to their own boards, and the beat goes on.

Where Did the Madness Begin?
Pinterest was started by two men, Ben and Paul, who were friends in college. "We were looking at paper catalogs," Ben said in an interview, "and thought, wouldn't it be cool if there was a catalog full of stuff that our friends had picked out." The two started developing Pinterest in December 2009. By March 2010, the prototype was ready to share with close friends and family. The site grew as those chosen few invited others to join. Though it's still "by invitation only," it's easy to get invited. Go to the site and ask.

What Do I Like about Pinterest?
  • I'm a visual person, so I love the images. One also can post YouTube videos.
  • It's a social network, so it provides a way to connect with people around the world with similar interests and concerns.
  • I learn something about the people with whom I connect most often through their boards. What do they love? What's their taste in clothing? Are they metropolitan or rural? Do they share my love for all things rustic, historical, Scottish, Amish, literary, and Christ-honoring? Do they appreciate God's Creation? Do they enjoy cooking, baking, and trying new things? How do they feel about chocolate, coffee, tea, and hounddogs? At the same time, I needn't be privy to the more intimate details of their lives.
  • As with any social networking site, there are those who create an account, enjoy a short burst of activity, but soon lose interest and depart. All the publicity Pinterest is garnering right now promotes that. But there is an active core of users who will continue to participate. These are folks who see the potential in such a site and can apply its uses to their benefit: the moms who are always looking for new, appealing recipes, crafty ideas (possibly to use as money-makers), DIY projects, organizational hints, etc.; photographers (amateur and professional) who see it as a way to display their work and gather ideas; home-schooling parents on the prowl for great ideas, and writers.
Pinterest for Writers
When I first joined Pinterest, I had no intention of using it as a writer's tool, but it didn't take long for me to recognize the potential. One of my first boards was "Books and Brew Bistro," where I pinned everything about books, reading, and coffee. The next logical step was to set up a board to corral images of characters, settings, clothing, and other things pertaining to my WIPs.

From my "Writer's Inspiration" board
          My MC in The Second Cellar                         The cellar door in SC                                          Aunt Becky in SC

I'm working on an interview with a fellow writer who has a novel set to release in March. This morning, I pinned the cover on my B&BB board. Within two minutes, another user had repinned to her page, exposing it to a whole new audience. Imagine how many people will see that cover by tomorrow morning! Further, it links directly back to the author's page where they can pre-order it!

The possibilities are endless. How about you, gentle reader? Are you a pinster? How do you use the site? What might you do to promote your own writing, as well as the work of your fellow scribes? What dangers or problems do you see? What warnings would you give? I look forward to reading your comments.

WARNING! (24 February 2012)  If you're on, you probably know you can "click through" to the source of an image, which usually is a benign blog or Web site. Someone repinned a face of a  boy with a big smile from my "Childhood" board. The caption read that he was an amazing young man, so I thought I'd click through to read his "amazing" story. It took me to an extremely obscene site. Ugh! I often do click through, especially if I want to scan a recipe or a DIY idea, but I haven't done that with the people pages. Of course, I immediately deleted the pin. Satan is up to his old, old, old tricks of taking something useful and perverting it to achieve his own agenda.  From now on, I'll trace each image to its source before repinning. Be ever vigilant.
Write on!
Because of Christ,


  1. Sharon,

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this. (BTW, I didn't look to see who was writing this until the end, but I knew who it was when I saw the one picture of a girl.)

    Have a great day.


  2. LOL! So you recognized Leah?

    Thank you for commenting. Pinterest can be a useful tool for writers, but I must go back into the article and issue a warning.

    Hope you have a great weekend.

    Write on!
    Because of Christ

  3. Very interesting article, Sharon! I'm just diving into the world of Pinterest. I love it already. :)

  4. I absolutely love Pinterest for collecting research pictures. I have historical costumes, archaeological finds, and my current WIP includes steamboats so I've a board for those, too!

    In fact, some of the costumes I've collected on Pinterest are in my WIP right now! It makes it all the more realistically detailed when you have an actual dress to describe. I just love it. Great post, Sharon!

  5. Being vigilant is sound Biblical advice. It's a scary world out there and often difficult see how easily we can be "rubbing shoulders" with something sordid.