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25.03.2012 in Mommy Projects by Lena Gott 2

What is Pinterest? How Do You Use It? How Does It Work?

So I’ve been in detox for the past two weeks.  Pinterest detox, that is.  It’s so addictive, I have to completely avoid it lest I get sucked into my computer screen for hours on end.

Despite the fact that I have to take periodic breaks from it, I highly recommend Pinterest to anyone who wants an easy way to organize their online finds.

So What is Pinterest, Exactly?

If you’ve never used Pinterest, the concept can seem complicated at first, but if you’re computer savvy and are the type of person to do research online before making a purchase or completing a project, then you will find it extremely useful.

Pinterest is a virtual pin board that makes it easy to keep track of your ideas and inspirations in a visually appealing way.  It’s essentially an electronic version of the corkboard in your office, like an interior designer’s concept board for every single type of project you can imagine.

You know all those favorites you save to your browser?  Well, Pinterest replaces all of those.  Instead of trying to categorize those links or sort through a long list of unrelated favorites every time you want to find the website where you saw a gorgeous dining room color, you can simply pin the actual photo onto a pin board and be done with it!

Here’s a pinboard I set up to contain all the ideas that I might use for my daughter’s next birthday party.


The best part about Pinterest is that it is backed up remotely.  You don’t have to worry about your own computer crashing, and all you need is internet access to view your boards.  Just log in, and everything you’ve pinned to date will be there.

How Do You Sign Up For Pinterest?

Pinterest currently operates on an invitation basis.  You can request an invite on the website or you can ask a current user to invite you.  They can easily add you to the invite recipient list if they know your email address or if they are friends with you on Facebook.

When you get your invite you can sign in using your Facebook or Twitter username which makes the whole process really simple.  Unfortunately, if you don’t already have Facebook or Twitter, you can’t log in (these are the only two current login methods), but I highly doubt anyone who doesn’t use one of those services would be very interested in the public sharing aspect of Pinterest anyway.

The Basic Process of Setting Up Your Pinterest Account

  • Find Friends.  Immediately upon signing up, take Pinterest’s suggestion to choose images that you like.  It will use that information to suggest other pinners to follow, which will get you started.  You can also find your Facebook friends who currently use Pinterest, immediately giving you access to friends’ boards for ideas and inspiration.  Every time you log on, you will be able to see the most recent pins from those you follow.

Tip:  To see pins from people you don’t follow, simply choose particular categories or choose to see “everything” from the drop down list at the top of the page.

  • Create boards to organize your ideas.  Boards are the categories for your pins.  Think of them like folders on your desktop. Don’t worry about being perfect at this point.  You don’t have to set up every board you think you’ll ever need; you can edit, arrange, and delete boards at any time.  Some common board ideas are books to read, decor ideas, recipes to try, and future travel destinations.  If memory serves me correctly, Pinterest will suggest a few standard boards to get you started.
  • Start pinning!  Pins can be pictures of things that interest you, inspire you, or anything you don’t want to forget.  An easy way to add pins to your boards is with the “Pin it” button you install on your bookmark bar.  As you find inspiring pictures online, pin the most relevant picture on the page that represents what you like about the page.  They key is to pin an appropriate photo on a website or blog’s page so all you have to do is visually browse through your pinned pictures to find the website you want.

As you become familiar with Pinterest, you will learn that there are three ways to save ideas to your account. There is pinning, re-pinning, and liking. Pinning is where you find something online and save it to Pinterest.  Re-pinning is when you come across a friend’s pin you like and save it to one of your own boards.  When you Like something, you don’t stick it on a board; rather, it just shows up under your Likes.

How Pinterest Links to Other Sites

When you pin a photo, Pinterest will hyperlink that photo back to the source website.  So, for instance, after you pin a photo of a Blue Water Paradise, the act of clicking on the photo will take you to the blog that originally reviewed that Ayada Resort in the Maldives.  And clicking on a picture of delicious mac n’ cheese should take you to the blog that originally posted the recipe and photo.

As you browse through friends’ pin boards and find something you like, just save that pin to one of your own boards by clicking the “Re-pin” button on the top corner of the photo.  From there, you can assign the pin to an existing board or create a new, more appropriate board for it.  Hit “Save,” and the pin is yours to reference at any time!

As you can imagine, looking through other users’ boards and repinning everything that catches your eye is the biggest time sucking aspect of Pinterest.  When every single idea is represented by an eye-catching photo, you won’t be able to help yourself!!

Do You Need an Invitation to Join Pinterest?

I am more than happy to send my readers invites.  Simply make a comment below, making sure to put your email address in the second text box.  Whatever you do, don’t list your email address in the actual comment box lest spam bots capture you!  When I see your comment, I’ll make sure to send you an invite!

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Lena Gott

I'm a CPA turned SAHM of 3 little ones ages 2, 4, and 7. I'm a mommy by day, blogger by night. Join me as I write about fun kids activities, family finances, and losing 50 lbs after baby #3.
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This article has 2 comments
  • Wendy Gallaher 01.04.2012 12:11 AM Reply

    I would like to join pinterest. thank you

    • Lena 04.04.2012 3:45 AM

      Your Pinterest invitation is on it’s way! See you soon!

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