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PinterestPART ONE: Everyone’s Talking About Pinterest: What is it?

Everyone's talking about Pinterest, the hot new social media Web site. If you don't know about this site, here's a quick overview. Launched in March, 2010, Pinterest aims to connect everyone in the world through the visual 'things' they find interesting. With more than 16.1 million unique visitors in January (Nielson), Pinterest has doubled in size since November. This amazing growth has companies selling everything from pancake mix to prom dresses thinking about ways to add this dynamic site to their marketing mix.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual cork board for pinning images and other items found elsewhere on the Web. The user, called a “pinner,” creates a collage on his or her pinboard with graphic bookmarks. Each item, or “pin”, is a picture, a video, a discussion or a combination of all of these, created with items found online or uploaded from the “pinner’s” computer.

Pinterest connects users via their common interests. Users share and compare with others on boards that are organized by specific themes. A bride-to-be can use Pinterest to help plan her wedding, pinning images of gowns, floral arrangements, catering halls, and/or gift ideas to her pinboard. Other common uses are home remodeling projects, recipes, fashion designs, craft ideas. Pinners can also create their own “wish books”.

Pinboards can be shared with other Pinterest users. They can be posted on Facebook and tweeted on Twitter. Shared users can comment on pins, click a “like” button on a pin and even re-pin an image to their own board. All of these actions grow the influence of the original pinner and because the posted items link back to the original website, having one of your items pinned can boost your web traffic.

For now, Pinterest users are primarily women who are likely to shop online, but the potential exists for other demographics as well. Pinners can also connect their Pinterest profile with their Facebook accounts which broadens the exposure by piggybacking on the large Facebook community. All of this activity helps Pinterest gather information about its users profiles. How Pinterest leverages this data remains to be seen.

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