By Meghan Gargan By now the word about Pinterest is spreading. What was once my little social media secret is now rapidly catching on with 2.5 million active monthly users. Although technically still in “beta,” Pinterest is taking the best of social and creating an appealing and visually heavy interface that encourages content exploration, curation and control.
For those who may not be familiar with Pinterest, the platform allows members to “pin” or bookmark all the beautiful, interesting and inspiring stuff they see on the web and then organize that content into customizable, shareable and, often times, themed virtual pinboards. Each pinned item can also be repinned (equivalent to a Facebook share) liked or commented on within the Pinterest community. Finally, members can also share their pins through other social networks creating an engagement ripple across multiple channels.
From the outside, Pinterest doesn’t seem all that different from all the StumbleUpons and Instagrams in the social media sphere, but there are three big ways this platform is leading the charge when it comes to social content and why it'll be on everyone's radar in 2012.
One of the greatest things about Pinterest is that you can wander aimlessly through the site and come across all different kinds of content that you may have never thought to seek out. While you can search within the platform via category (i.e., Travel or Fashion) you can also discover content randomly through the hundreds of pins featured on the homepage, listed by category or posted by those you follow. It's discovery at its best and allows content to reach a larger and boarder audience than other networks.
For the first time, a social platform easily let’s you create, discover, gather and share the content YOU find relevant. And unlike Facebook posts or tweets that are sent out into social media space maybe to never be found again, Pinterest gives the opportunity to bucket content using your pinboards in a way that makes sense to you and can be shared over and over. Once something is pinned on Pinterest it's more than likely to live on the community board for days, weeks and even months rather than moments.
Pinterest brings us back to the basics. As we discussed, it allows members to explore and discover new content and curate and organize that content in a way that makes sense, however, it also puts the control back in users hands. Since Pinterest relies on visuals, it leaves most everything open to interpretation. What one person may see and comment on as a DIY craft another may repin as an inspiration for an educational board game or children’s playroom. How users share, bucket and use the content is completely up to them. There’s no hidden agenda, no call for repins, likes or comments – it allows members to truly tap into the core of what social does, connecting people via content.
While no brand pages are set to launch, a platform like Pinterest could be pure gold with the opportunity for organic messaging, extended audience reach and immediate results from the "repin effect" (trademark it!). Brand's content no longer lives within a campaign window, but can continue on indefinitely, assuming, that is, it's quality content.
What do you think of Pinterest? Will we continue to hear about this visual platform in 2012 and what contributions will it bring to the social media industry? Share your thoughts in the comments!