When I first joined pinterest, it was, as its name suggests, a virtual pin board where I would explore and share my interests and passions visually. The first passion I brought to life was tennis, starting, of course, with Rafael Nadal. My “Tennis” board was a form of visual poetry as I sought to assign just one word to each compelling or inspirational photo.
I then moved on to the creation of a “Recent Indulgences” board where I could document and share recent purchases. This was something I had been doing on Facebook for many years by way of a photo album by that name, so the jump to pinterest was quite natural. And the fact that I could simultaneously share these images with Facebook and Twitter made this an easy transition and enhancement.
More recently, I found myself in the position of shopping for a new desk. As I surfed the Internet and came across items that seemed to fit my need and that I found visually appealing, I found that uploading these images to pinterest was a wonderful way to keep track of the items I discovered. In fact, by creating a “Desk” pinboard, I was able to see the commonalities across the pieces of furniture I pinned and get a better sense of what I was looking for. It also prompted me to expand my search by exploring a new direction. This time around, I did not need to use the handy “pin it” button I had installed a few years back as I discovered that virtually every eRetailer had a pinterest widget incorporated into their website. Clearly pinterest has become a table stakes component of online retailing.
Now that I had this nice compilation of desks, I was able to share my ideas with friends and get their input. In fact, one friend commented that what I really seemed to need was a new desk chair for the table I had been using rather than a new desk, and so my pin board became about “Desks and Chairs.”
Another element that was really wonderful was that when I pinned an item that someone else had also uploaded to pinterest, I was given an option to click through to that person’s pin board, which invariably provided new inspiration and led me to new websites and retailers featured in the pin board I visited.
I’ve now expanded my board from desks to “Home Furnishings” as I explore dresser options as well. So pinterest has continued to be a form of visual exploration and expression. But it has now become a crucial part of my online shopping experience.
I recently overheard someone say that pinterest is not about what people have but about what they wish they had – as if this were some kind of dark secret. I recalled that when Myspace first came into being it gave teenagers an opportunity to portray themselves however they wanted without being limited by the size, look or location of their actual home. In this case, the aspirational nature of pinterest is open, exciting and powerful – just like the pin boards of our youth.