When I was younger, I loved creating a hodge podge of images, fortune cookie fortunes, and photos on magnetic and cork boards. I loved to collect the ticket stubs of every movie I had seen and carefully glue them into a collage on my bulletin board, peppered with my favorite clippings from different magazines I came across. I spent hours hoarding magazines and taking meticulous care to cut out the images just right so they would fit perfectly in my mosaic of all things that I loved.
Those tangible hobbies I used to have, like scrapbooking and collage-making, soon found themselves brushed aside with the digital age. I find myself often going back to those tactile, hands-on projects when I need some reprieve from digital overload, but it was only a few weeks ago that I stumbled upon Pinterest. And my love for gathering, collaging, and collecting began anew – fit for a digital world.
Pinterest is an online community of virtual pinboards, allowing you to “collect the things you love.” Much like the inspiration boards of my past, the pin boards are a graphical way to arrange a plethora of items that you find interesting, entertaining, amusing, or just visually beautiful into your own inspiration board. Whether you are redecorating your home, planning a wedding, or want to improve your Star Wars collection, Pinterest allows you to create a visual pin board to capture your ideas.
It’s easy to join the community. I submitted my email address to Pinterest to request an invitation and was pleasantly surprised how quickly I received a response. I chose a username, password, and voila! I was part of Pinterest. The site allows you to determine who you want to ‘follow’ and gives you options based on interests such as travel, food, or decoration. Once you’re logged in, you can either build your own pin boards, or browse others. To participate in the community you can either pin items and build your own boards, comment and ‘like’ items on other users’ boards, or repin items you see on someone else’s boards to your own.
One great feature to Pinterest is the “Pin It” applet that you can install to your browser (mine happens to be Firefox). When I’m surfing the net and I stumble upon a photo I want to save or a cool video, I click “Pin It” from my bookmarks toolbar, and the applet converts the website into a lightbox of items you can pin. Hover one an item and the words “pin it” appear. Selecting it allows you to access your Pinterest account, choose which pin board you want to add it to, and then share it with your Pinterest friends.
So far, I love the concept and execution of Pinterest. I haven’t built out my pin boards to full potential yet as I still continue to explore and stare in awe at many other users’ boards. However, I think it’s a great tool to take advantage of if you need to feed your creative side and want to organize all the amazing things you stumble upon. Definitely appeals to my girly, younger self who loved making collages, and my geeky side that I can organized things I love and share them on a great social networking platform. See you on Pinterest!