Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You've Gotta Be In It To Pin It

A librarian friend recently told me about this new site called Pinterest. Knowing that I spend far too much time on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, she knew I'd be as fascinated with it as she was. But Pinterest isn't about socializing, not really. There's no talking, poking or games, and very few words. The site is a bunch of virtual pinboards where you can post pictures. Pictures of what, you ask? Practically anything. I've often referred to the site as crack for the visually inspired.

What's so interesting is how much more I think Pinterest says about who I am than my Facebook page does. Sure, on FB I list my interests, favorite artists, post pics of my family and make jokes or comments on other people's statuses. But those things are easy to do or not do. You can be as hip, fun or reserved as you want to be on FB, and what you post says a lot about the type of person you are.

On Pinterest, it's purely visual. And you're not limited to the boards/criteria that Pinterest dictates. You can create a board, call it whatever you want and pin whatever you want on it. I've seen boards that only have pictures of teapots or vases. Others have just shoes. Some have pictures of tropical vacation sites, or pictures of the European countryside. I have one for geeky book stuff, one for humor, one of architectural designs I admire, one of craft projects I find inspiring, and one of different outfit styles I like. But the other day I stood back and looked at all my boards together and thought, "wow, when you add all these together, they really show people who I am."

It was amazing.

Since then I learned that Pinterest, with gajillions of photos on almost any topic you could think of, is run by a staff of 16 people out in California. That's why you need an invitation to join, I imagine. It's the company's way of putting a bouncer at the door to keep the site from becoming a fire hazard (read: potentially crashing). It's brilliant and, sadly, privately held.

If you are of a visual ilk like I am, I urge you to check it out. Especially if you have lots of time on your hands. Trust me: you'll need it.

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