Bookmarking sites come and go fairly quickly. There are some that hang around for years, often going through popularity phases – StumbleUpon is a good example, people join up,then drift away, then return spasmodically to see if things have changed. Pinterest is the latest and while it is an ‘invite only’ site at present, is well worth checking out. You can request an invite, although the home page is rather off-putting, it looks more like a parked domain than a real website. However, once you open those doors, everything changes.
Pinterest is a virtual pin board complete with a browser ‘Pin it’ button for Firefox, ‘Pin it’ (and ‘follow me’) buttons for websites, and an iPhone application. Find pictures, videos or web pages of interest and you can ‘pin’ them to your pin board – and you can have more than one pin board. The pin board concept has a wide range of uses, to quote their help page:
People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.
Can businesses use Pinterest? This is one site that has definitely not been set up for commercial use. Self-promotion is frowned upon and users found guilty of promoting their businesses won’t last long. However, that doesn’t mean the service is totally out for businesses. Adding the ‘pin it’ buttons to your web site will invite visitors to add your pages to their pin boards. You can also have your own pin board where you can pin related content to your business. If you have the occasional page from your website pinned, for example an advice or recipe or how to page, then you shouldn’t have too many problems.
The feature that most businesses will find helpful is that pins can be shared between users and through Facebook and Twitter. Pins are also searchable through the search bar on Pinterest. It appears to bring the best of Stumbleupon and Facebook and is certainly well worth looking at, particularly those in service industries. It may not be for everyone, however, for a social media site that is invite only, it already has 4 million registered users – nowhere near Facebook or Twitter, but it could explode once the doors are opened. You can request an invite through Mashable’s pin page.