Pinterest has taken a unique approach to get people interested in the site - you have to be invited to participate. You can request an invitation right on the site, but be warned that it takes a long time before you will get one. You are better off to ask a friend who is already on Pinterest to send you one. I've also seen a lot of people asking for Pinterest invites via twitter and facebook and someone is always willing to help out. Do you see the genius in this plan? Requiring people to secure an invite, is a great way to spread the word about the site!
The first thing you will want to do is to setup your account. You can sign in using your existing twitter account or facebook account. The benefit of using one of those social media accounts to sign in, is that you can find people on Pinterest that you already interact with on those other sites. You also can log in to Pinterest using the email and password you establish when setting up your account.
When signing up, you will be prompted to create some boards. Pinterest suggests a few basic boards with titles. I suggest accepting those and editing them later on. (See step #4) If you want to edit them at this point, just go ahead and change the names to topics you think you might like to file inspiration under.
Your Pinterest experience will be completely shaped by who you follow. You will see "pins" from the people you choose to follow and so they will create the content of the site. I have found that this can really make or break Pinterest so I feel like it's important to have a few inspirational and safe friends to follow to get you started. Then you can refine your own interests as you explore and become more comfortable. When you create your account, you might be automatically following others from the social network you used to sign in. You will also be automatically following the Pinterest account, you will probably find some very interesting things by following the Pinterest people.
You can use twitter, facebook, yahoo, or gmail to help you find people you might already know.
You can follow all of someone's boards, or just pick a one or a few to follow. You can also unfollow a person or certain boards at any time.
Once you have a few friends to follow, look around their pinboards and see if you can find anyone else who looks familiar or interesting. You can always unfollow them later on. You can click on who I follow or who follows me to find some fun people.
It's time to create your own pinboards and start pinning (see step #5). Some people chose not to repin anything and just use Pinterest to follow others. That is perfectly fine, but it's even more enjoyable when you get involved. You can "like" pins which is liking adding them to a "favorites" file. If you "repin" them, you will want to sort the pins into boards. After browsing through a few pinboards from friends, you will probably have a pretty good idea of what topics you want to focus on. You can always rename and rearrange your pinboards so don't worry too much about getting them "just right"!
Here's a peek at my boards:
These are the titles of my boards:
To edit them at any time, just go to the boards from the drop down menu and you can edit each one individually or even rearrange the order they are displayed in. *see sample below
It's also helpful to be be sure each board is categorized properly - this helps others find your pins. Just click on "edit" for each board and select the most appropriate category.
Now you are ready to start pinning! The easiest thing to do on Pinterest is to "repin" something that is already there. As I'm browsing on Pinterest, I find the image of photos on a wall that I want to repin to my own boards. As I hover over the picture with my mouse, the option appears to either "repin" or "like" it. I choose "repin" and it prompts me to categorize it to one of my boards. I choose Gallery Walls and click on repin. I could also automatically share this pin on twitter or facebook by using the buttons at the bottom.
What if you want to pin something you find on another site? You can go to "add a pin" and then enter the url and description.
The easiest way is to just add the bookmarklet by dragging the "pin it" link to your brower toolbar.
I use the bookmarklet all the time. When I'm reading through blogs, I use this little tool to add pins as I find ideas I want to save. If I wanted to pin a layout from yesterday's post here on The Daily Digi, I would just click on the bookmarklet while I had The Daily Digi post open on my screen.
Once I click on the pinning tool, I will see all the images from this post pop up on my screen. I simply need to use my mouse to hover over the one I want to pin and then click on "Pin This".
then choose the board you want to pin the image to and type in a description.
You can even mention other users if you want to notify them about the pin.
Pinterest is still a fairly new site so the etiquette is still evolving. It's best to follow good general guidelines that would apply to any social site such as; polite and kind comments, not infringing on copyright, crediting the original sources, and avoiding too much self-promotion. Pins are meant to be shared on Pinterest, but occasionally, someone might ask to have a pin removed because of a copyright issue. If you want to share the pins you find outside of Pinterest, use the tools provided to share on facebook or twitter. You can also embed the image on a blog using the embed tool Pinterest provides. This ensures that the credits and source of the pin stays intact.
More Pinterest links to check out:
As you can see, Pinterest is a fun and exciting place to hang out online. I can't wait to see what's new every time I login. I hope you enjoy it as well!