... and why I continue loving Pinterest because I use it.
When I first heard about Pinterest, I thought: What is this about? Let's request an invite.
I thought it was something in-between FlickR and Facebook. I didn't see any use for it, but I loved the interface and its simplicity, so... why not give it a try?
The concept as I first understood it, was that you could add "pins".
I installed the "pin" button that made it easy to go to this screen (you get the same screen if you choose "Add a Pin"):
For instance: on lowagie.com, I upload photos about iText related events and publications once in a while, so I pinned some of those images to Pinterest by "pinning" them straight from blog posts.
Thanks to pinterest, you can organize your images into specific categories, named "boards". For instance this is the "iText" board.
If an image in the board captures your attention, you can get a closer view:
This is an overview of the boards I've currently created:
Pinterest is a social media site, which means you can search for people you want to follow yourself. For instance: these are the people I follow:
When I log in, I don't see the general page, but I only see pins from the people I follow.
This is very similar to Twitter, only instead of 140-character messages, you see a stream of images.
Soon I gained some followers of my own:
Much to my surprise half of my followers are women I don't know (never met them, don't know who they are, nor why they're following me). I thought this phenomenon was similar to Twitter, where suddenly somebody with an avatar representing a hot babe starts following you in the hope you'll follow them back, so that they can send you SPAM.
During my second trip to California, I thought: Why am I first uploading my images to my blog, and then pinning them on Pinterest? Wouldn't it be more efficient to do it the other way round? As an experiment, I started uploading my pins:
Take a look at this board and compare it with the previous one.
In the screenshot of the "iText" board all images were uploaded from lowagie.com. Here you see that all images were "Uploaded by user".
After uploading the images to Pinterest, it was a piece of cake to embed them in my blog.
This is the code I needed to copy/paste:
This is an example of a blog post containing images from Pinterest:
As you can see, Pinterest gets a lot of link love from my site, but I don't mind. Pinterest deserves that love ;-)
Then by coincidence, I noticed that Pinterest also links back to my site. That is: if I create a pin from my website. I discovered that if I upload a pin from my hard disk, I could also add an URL:
This way, Pinterest is returning the link love. I didn't add a link to all my pins yet, but... I'll certainly add a link in the future.
Also, I've read that it's better not to name your pictures "PIC001.jpg", but give them real names such as "SanFrancisco.jpg". That way, your image will have more chance to turn up in searches.
You see: it started with some love "hey, I like this site", and now that I've been using the site for a while, I continue loving it because "hey, this service is useful" ;-)
And what's in it for Pinterest? Well, they have a very smart way to generate revenue that involves affiliate commissions, but that doesn't annoy its users by serving ads. But that's the subject of another blog...