Pinterest and the art of Pinmanship: learning a new social media channel

Pinterest: of interest? That’s what I’m finding out, thanks to an invite by Neville Hobson (@jangles) following my tweeted intrigue.

That my invite to this new social media channel came via another social media channel is telling, but I nevertheless think there’s potential in Pinterest.

I just need to work out what it is and how to use it.

Pinterest itself? It’s a virtual pinboard, allowing you to share images you see online with others. It’s a bit like cutting out images from magazines and sticking them on the fridge – only here, it’s far less effort and far more flexible.

Adding images to Pinterest is called pinning them. To do this, install the plugin, which will be displayed in your bookmarks bar.

See an image you like? Hit that ‘Pin It’ button.This pulls up a separate web page with all images from the page you’ve been viewing available to ‘pin’. Choose the one you’re after, fill in the comments popup, hit go and – bingo, you’ve added to your Pinterest board. You can even tweet it if you so wish.

Hold on – board? Yup: the idea is to create a board, or multiple (pin)boards (geddit?), ordered by subject so you can build up your virtual image scrapbook. At the moment, I’ve chosen five:

Images that caught my eye

Dials

Bits of cars I like

MPG

Launch things

Press USB sticks

When I see stuff I like online, I’ll add it to these boards, to fulfil my geeky tendencies.

Pinterest users also get to play image editor. No matter how geeky the subject area, they can quality control what’s displayed there. I’m doing this in my ‘dials’ board, for example. Only the finest car dials from history will be displayed here. Sorry, Rover 45 design team.

So, why Pinterest instead of Twitter? Because it’s visual. The secret is in the boards, and the collection of images they hold. Choose the right subject and these can be truly compelling must-views – which, with the right Pinterest editor, will become compellingly sticky for fans of said subject.

It chimes with something others have said: the internet is becoming visual. People don’t want to read, they want to look at images, the richer the better – and it’s Pinterst’s encouragement of this, plus its ability to collate such images with immense granularity, that’s the reason why I think it has potential.

I will persist. I’ll keep on pinning and will be following others who do, too. Keep the interest up and see what happens.

>>Links to more thoughts on Pinterest>>

The Wall on Pinterest

Mashable on Pinterest

The BBC on Pinterest

Wired on Pinterest

Scott Monty on Pinterest

Blue Glass on Pinterest

Lance Ulanoff on Pinterest

Dreamgrow on Pinterest

Soshable on Pinterest (interesting take on Pinterest’s potential as a sales tool)

Advanced Pinterest pinning

+ What journalists should not do on Twitter

+ Mercedes on X-Factor

+ Facebook and Twitter for cars: BMW to the rescue