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What is Pinterest?

In the world of social media, it is a unique service.
By
August 3, 2022

In the world of social media, Pinterest is a unique service. Although you can post pictures and videos, and send private messages to other users, like with other social media, the main thrust of Pinterest is the sharing of things you see online. Links and content shared to Pinterest are called pins, and pins are organized by subject matter into boards. You can then search for a subject, and be given a list of pins and boards that provide information on that subject. This makes Pinterest a research tool, both for personal and professional interests, as well as a way of connecting with others around shared interests. Pinterest is also becoming a shopping showcase that lets you click through to buy the merchandise displayed.

Read more: How to pin a post on Facebook

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a website and app that allows for both research into any area of interest, and the sharing of content you have found on a subject with other interested people. Pinterest is very image-centric. The main unit of content on Pinterest, the pin, is represented by an image in search results. Then, if you want to know more, you can click or tap on the image to surf through to the website the image comes from, to research a subject or to buy the item pictured. Pinterest allows for private messaging between members, commenting on and liking pins, and the posting of your own photos and videos. But it is not its main purpose, and the emphasis on Pinterest is making pins easy to share and search.

Here is an example of a Pinterest search and the results it yielded. The row of buttons along the top are suggestions for narrowing the search from the broad subject of baseball to something more specific, like clothing to wear to a baseball game or quotes from famous baseball personalities. Each of the images represents a separate search result.

Pinterest Results Page
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

Why use it?

One of the main reasons to use Pinterest is for inspiration. YouTube can show you how to do things; Instagram lets you post pictures of you doing those things. Pinterest’s contribution is to help you find out what you want to do. A search for lawn ideas, for example, yields a guide to the best time of day to mow your lawn, examples of attractive landscaping, ideas for lawn-free yards, and so on. You can also create a board (a collection of pins) around a specific event, like a reunion or a wedding, and authorize other people to contribute pins to it. This way, the board  becomes a central place to deposit ideas quickly, allowing everyone involved to brainstorm at their convenience.

Pinterest can also be used for more serious reasons, such as coordinating research among academics or scientists. But most people use it simply to connect with people who share an interest by contributing pins to different boards. This way, interesting things you have found online can be saved not only for you, but for every other user of that board.

How to use Pinterest

Pinterest has an intuitive interface. The search box is your main tool, to look up the subjects you want to see or know more about. When your results come up, there will be two main types. Some of the images are direct links to web pages; these are most often commercial pins put there by businesses who are essentially advertising on Pinterest. You can click on these results to leave Pinterest and go to the site where you can examine or buy the item.

Other results show a magnifying glass icon when you mouse over them; these are internal Pinterest links to a full-size version of the image, as well as additional results that show similar images. In the upper right of the result box, you will see a red button to save this pin. The drop-down menu next to it lets you choose which of your boards it will be added to.

Pinterest Related Images 1
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

How to create an account on Pinterest

If you don’t already have a Pinterest account, just go to www.pinterest.com and click on Sign up.

In addition to the usual email address and password, you’ll be asked your age, gender, country and language. Then you’ll be shown a window with various topic images. Pinterest will ask you to pick a few interests (you can always change them later) to get your home page started. Then you can start using Pinterest.

How to create a board on Pinterest

Boards are one of Pinterest’s most useful features. To start a new board, first use the menu on the home page to create a new pin.

Pinterest Create Pin
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

In the dialogue that comes up, use the drop-down menu to show all your existing boards, if any, and a button to create a new board.

Create Board
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

A further dialogue box will come up, where you can name the new board, choose to keep it secret or leave it public and, when you’re ready, click on the red Create button.

Name Board
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

Now you’re ready to start adding pins to your new board.

How to pin on Pinterest

To add a new pin to your Pinterest, use the menu at the top left of the page that says Create.

Pinterest Create Pin
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

The dialogue box we saw earlier will come up. This is where you can choose to upload a file from your computer or save from a website, add text to explain the image, add the link to the image if it is online, and the drop-down menu at the top to choose the board this pin will join. When you have everything the way it should be, click the red Save button at the top right.

Create New Pin
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

To see your pin, go to your profile by clicking on the link at the top right of your home page. Click on the board you added the pin to, and you will see the pin you just added.

Read more: Here’s how to pin a tweet on Twitter

FAQs

Pinterest is a publicly traded company that was founded in 2010 by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, and Evan Sharp. CEO Silbermann is the largest individual Pinterest shareholder, with 7.89% of the company.

Some people have differing opinions, but the facts are that you can post videos and photos that others can view, like and comment on; you can send private messages to other Pinterest users; and you can share Pinterest content across other social media services. So while it might not have qualified when it started, today Pinterest definitely qualifies as social media, albeit of a very different kind than most.