If Facebook is like a diary of what my life actually looks like (albeit a carefully curated one), then Pinterest is my vision board for what I wish my life looked like.
If you’re unfamiliar with this rapidly growing social-networking site, well, where have you been? Here’s how it works: images of beautiful clothes, adorable animals, elegant homes and perfectly styled foodstuffs are virtually “pinned” onto thematic boards. Users can edit and share their digital pinboards with fellow pinthusiasts who can then comment on, like and re-pin the images on their own boards and so on.
While a small percentage of the images are purely practical – think “the best DIY drain cleaner” – the majority are simply things that are nice to look at. The photo-sharing site is especially popular among young women (hi there!) who grew up tearing images out of magazines and tacking them up on corkboards to create aspirational collages. Taking this low-tech practice and moving it online is both genius in its simplicity and its revenue-generating potential.
Not only is Pinterest easy to use, it’s also hopelessly addictive. I’ve stayed up until 1 a.m. browsing online catalogues of stunning interiors because I decided my home-decor board absolutely needed some new material. I catch myself pinning at home, at the office, in transit … heck, I’ve pinned 10 times already while writing this column.
Interestingly, Pinterest’s user demographics in North America differ vastly from those across the pond. The overwhelming majority of American users are females (83 per cent) using the site to post images from feminine interest areas such as fashion, hair and beauty, wedding decor, recipes, etc. In Britain, more than 50 per cent of the users are males sharing very different materials, including SEO and marketing resources, web analytics and venture-capital-related items. Notwithstanding these differences, images concerned with homemade crafts rank pretty high in both countries. I guess you can’t deny the popularity of DIY tchotchkes.
While you could dismiss this photo-sharing site as a frivolous collection of eye candy, you’d be a fool not to recognize its potential. I’m sure plenty of companies and brands would love to know that I have visited websites and even made a couple of purchases as a direct result of something I stumbled upon on someone’s virtual pin board.
In January of this year, Pinterest became the fastest website in history to break through the 10-million-unique-visitor mark and it’s growing exponentially every single day. So are you getting nervous, Mr. Zuckerberg?