Pinning Potential: How to Use Pinterest Creatively

Pinterest Logo

Pinterest is the latest darling of the social networking world. It functions a bit like Twitter and Facebook – you post things; ‘Like,’ re-post and comment on posts; follow people, etc. – but unlike other social networks, Pinterest is all about the visuals.

Users create Boards organized by theme or topic, and ‘pin’ images to each board. Each image links back to the original web source, be it an online clothing store, a recipe blog, or a do-it-yourself instructional video.

Bulletin Board

My original source of pinspiration: the bulletin board of randomness above my desk.

The site is very popular with women. But wait, aren’t men supposed to be ‘more visual’? Apparently not. While text-based Twitter has mostly male users, Pinterest is a huge hit with the ladies.

In short, Pinterest is a window-shopper’s dream. This is where magpies meet shiny things. Women flock here to plan their weddings, get home decor ideas, and find fashion inspiration. It’s all free, but Pinterest does help buyers meet sellers: Include a price in a pin description and a price tag will appear on the image, which is then featured in the Gifts section of the site.

Besides the ‘want that’ flagging and fanciful shoe-gazing, the site also appeals to a nerdy urge to collect and organize things. You may spend hours sorting random images into categories. If that isn’t dorky enough, there’s an entire Geek category to browse!

At its girliest and nerdiest, Pinterest is like a neverending web-wide version of Animal Crossing.

Animal Crossing Screenshot

You remember Animal Crossing, don’t you?

But there is a lot to learn too, from how to peel a kiwi the RIGHT way and how to get more out of Google to how to conceal a handgun. There really is something for everyone. Pinterest is full of useful DIY and money-saving tips, projects to try, and ways to entertain your kids. So it’s not only a visually appealing catalog tailored to your own tastes and interests, it’s also endlessly useful.

In fact, the site has a lot of potential uses that have yet to really catch on. Forward-thinking businesses are paying attention and many have created Pinterest accounts.

What I’d like to see are more creative uses that don’t have anything to do with shopping or sales. What about…

  • ACTIVISTS: Want to build a case for your cause?
    Try posting: articles, infographics, pamphlets, photos or videos that send a message.
  • FUNDRAISERS: Want to raise money for your organization?
    Try posting: links to your online fundraising stars, reasons to donate, upcoming events or sales that support your charity.
  • STUDENTS: Want to organize your research sources?
    Try posting: books you’ve read or need to read, articles, academic journals, or other random biblio-graphics.
  • NEWS JUNKIES: Want to document a news story or political issue over time?
    Try posting: daily links to news articles, editorials or blogs about the topic as it develops.

You can also share Pinterest boards to collaborate with other users. What about…

  • FAMILIES: Want to plan your next vacation or family outing?
    Try posting: tourist attractions, things to do around town, places you’d like to visit.
  • CREATIVES & COWORKERS: Want your team to brainstorm on visuals for a creative project?
    Try posting: inspirational art, drawings, or concepts.

Do you have any ideas about how Pinterest could or should be used? Please share them below.

Feel free to check out my Pinterest account if you like. And happy Pinning!


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