“I saw it on Pinterest!” is quickly becoming a common phrase.
Since it launched beta testing in March 2010, Pinterest has become the third most popular social media website in the world (behind Facebook and Twitter).
The site had small beginnings: co-founder Ben Silbermann and a few programmers ran the site out of an apartment until the summer of 2011. Silbermann personally reached out to the site’s first 5,000 users, even giving them his personal phone number.
Since then, Pinterest has become a phenomenon – attracting over 25 million unique visitors per month as of January 2013.
So what exactly is Pinterest? Pinterest is essentially a virtual pin board for anything and everything. From musical obsessions to home renovation, there is a place on Pinterest for all interests.
It starts with a picture or a ‘pin.’ Users can take a picture from a third party website, upload their own image to Pinterest or ‘repin’ a picture from another user onto one of their own boards. Users create boards, where they organize pins by topic (i.e. recipes go onto one board, home improvement in another, etc.). Much like Facebook and Twitter, users can follow other users, whose pins will show up in their home feed (think Facebook newsfeed but with pictures).
So what brings new and returning users to Pinterest?
“I use it because you’re able to find and organize the things you love without having to search the web,” said MU undergrad Mandy Perreault, “I just love it.”
There is no need to scour endless Google results pages with Pinterest. Users can search for anything, even the most obscure things, and organize them easily by searching for something specific or browsing through broader categories (humor, food and drink, etc.).
Pinterest has a simple design, which keeps users browsing. The home feed is taken up by images, with comments kept under the pin and command actions such as “repin” and “like” hidden until they are scrolled over. The site also has endless scrolling, which allows users to continually scroll through pins.
One thing users love about Pinterest: creativity. The site is filled with endless ideas and project possibilities. Pinterest draws users in with the creative content and the opportunities for trying something new.
The average Pinterest user is a female between the ages of 25 – 34. In fact, almost 80 percent of Pinterest users are female. Pinterest seems to have a lot of guys questioning the appeal.
“It’d be pretty hard to convince me that it’s something I should invest my time in,” said MU undergrad Anthony Ly. “Any time I hear the site being referenced, it’s almost always female friend of mine, and they’re always looking at pictures of fashion, cooking, celebrities, or kittens.”
While Pinterest might be leaving guys baffled by the appeal, Pinterest has seen a 2,702 percent increase in unique views since May 2011. And with the release of an app for iPhones and Android phones, it doesn’t seem like the newest social media phenomenon is going anywhere anytime soon.