Help Me Understand 3 Things About Pinterest, Please!

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What's the deal?!

This would be more in the “Chris Boivin doesn’t know” category.

I have a Pinterest account.  I’ve pinned a few things and scanned a few boards.  I follow a few boards related to some things I’m interested in, but still I maybe go there once every 1-2 weeks tops.  I truly don’t get it.

I’m not trying to belittle anyone who is a regular pinner by any means by saying that I don’t get it.  I know that I am not in the user demographic (reportedly 97% of pinners are women), but I would like to know why that is, too.

It boils down to three main question categories:

  1. Are women the target demographic or is that incidental?  If you are a woman, what do you think about the service appeals to women?  If you are a man, what is your experience like that may suggest it’s not built or operating for men.
  2. If you are active, what keeps you on there and what keeps you coming back?  Is it the layout? Content?  Functionality?  Usability?  Percentage of your social network that is on there?  What?
  3. If you were on Pinterest but have abandoned it, or lapsed in your participation, why do you think that is?  What was it that took you away or has kept you away for a period of time?  Did you hit a wall? Get bored?  Get confused or frustrated?  Figure out another way to do what you did there?

I partly ask this out of personal curiosity, but I also know that with this network totally blowing up that Pinterest is going to be on the minds of everyone when it comes to business strategies (especially marketing and sales strategies, since there seems to be a tie-in there).

Let me hear it!  Call me names!  Tell me that it’s a secret like when they separated the boys and girls in 4th grade.  Whatever you like, but please help me understand what the deal is with Pinterest!  Thank you in advance for your comments and links!!!


– Chris

17 thoughts on “Help Me Understand 3 Things About Pinterest, Please!

  1. 1. Highly image centric!
    2. A. boredom during the day. B. I like looking at pictures instead of words. 3. its a way to share ideas on topics you love photographically, with a link to the site if you actually want to learn about why this photo was up.
    3. I’m addicted.

  2. I think if you have interest in certain subjects, Pinterest would appeal to you no matter your gender. I used to tear pictures of rooms, recipes, gardens, etc. out of magazines, never to be seen again. This is an electronic way to keep those ideas for me. I do not get on Pinterest as much as I did because I am busy with other stuff, and consider it an “extra”.
    I do believe it could be very useful to businesses such as Pottery Barn, furniture stores, designers, etc. to make sure their images are on there so they can be repinned, of course with links to the website!

    1. Good points, Susan! I have been casually using Pinterest to make a board for beekeeping – a new hobby that my wife and I are diving into – and that’s been helpful.
      You bring up another interesting concept: merchandisers with “links to their website”. I wonder how a Pin might be analogous to a QR Code. As you may know, one of the issues with QR codes is that many of them just link to the home page of the website. That’s a potential missed opportunity to reward the QR code finder with a surprise or direct QR code traffic specifically to something other than the home page. Savvy companies could direct their pin links elsewhere in the same manner, perhaps.
      Thanks so much for reading and joining in the conversation!

  3. I think Pinterest appeals to women because we are “gatherers” – it’s a great place to gather ideas and inspiration. Pinterest is like flipping through a magazine and tearing out the articles or photos that interest you.
    I go there to jumpstart my brain when I’m working on a creative project, or to get ideas for a specific situation (recipes, party planning, holidays, etc.)
    There’s always something new to look at, and more of my friends are joining all the time, so it’s fun to see what they’re looking at too.
    It’s definitely a “girl thing” but if I were in a business marketing to women, I would be there.

    1. Thanks, Linda! My thread on facebook for this question suggests much of the same. Collecting, gathering and flipping through a magazine are all analogies that are making it more crystal to me (and hopefully to others reading this). Thanks so much for reading and replying!

  4. great question and revealing responses! i was pondering the exact same questions yesterday. not to be sexist, but this is a great foundation for a mans guide to pinterest. great info!

  5. I’ve been on Pinterest for 4 months and really enjoy the “flip through a magazine” feel of it. It’s also a better place to find info on things you’re interested in (e.g., cooking, photography, etc.) than simply googling the topic.

    In addition to what others have said, check out (on Twitter). They have a lot of good articles/insight on Pinterest. They say it’s great for people who want to be more passive in social media – not shout out everything that’s going on with them like on FB and Twitter.

    BTW – Mark Zuckerberg just created a Pinterest account…so you know it’s going to be big and FB is probably going to try to replicate some of its functionality. There will probably be ads soon & more men will ultimately join…

    1. Thanks, Claire! Mashable is always a good source for info! Regarding the passivity, that’s maybe one of the things that is a yellow flag to me – is casual use sustainable? (Angry Birds suggests that it might be, but will it hold true here?) I would be very surprised if facebook didn’t adopt the functionality or purchase Pinterest outright (if they don’t already have a chunk of the pie – you never know what might be happening behind closed doors). Thanks so much for joining in the conversation!!

  6. There’s an article in today’s “Wall Street Journal” that speaks to the business side (how to monetize) but the clear indicator is this: “Those who visited spent nearly 100 minutes on the site in January, compared with the 19 minutes on … LinkedIn.”

    Pesonally, even though I’m a writer, I am finding that Pinterest allows me to explore my dormant domestic side (home decorating and cakes, who knew I had it in me?) while placing inspiring, silly and nostalgic things for straight up enjoyment.

    I suddenly noticed I had spent about six hours on the site last week, compared with zero on Facebook. I can wander around it in while I’m on my phone waiting at the doctor’s office, or scroll through on my laptop while I’m watching TV. I’ve even cooked from recipes I found on there. I don’t cook!

    It is a truly inspiring thing once you let yourself get lost once or twice. It’s really the social site I’ve taken to most quickly.

  7. Hi Chris! I have been an avid Pinterest user since August 2011, I am also a full-time marketing manager and a mom. So I have a lot going on! But yet, in my free time (what little I have), I seem to gravitate to pinning on my Pinterest boards, sometimes I will even be in bed at night, half asleep but I can’t put down the iPad because I find pinning to be that much fun! To give you some background, women love to read fashion, cooking and home magazines, but now that we are in the new age of media, I think Pinterest has become a substitution for this. When I was younger, I would rip out magazine pages of rooms I likes, outfits, recipes, and then put them in a binder or paste them on a posterboard. But, as you can imagine, Pinterest has simplified this process, and now I have virtual boards for all of my interests – from cooking, to interior design, to party planning to inspirational sayings. Now what do I do with these boards? One board I created was only for ideas for my daughter’s 1st birthday party – so I had a recipe for the cupcakes, some other lunch recipes, a birthday banner theme idea, birthday guest bags, and so forth. So it was an easy, efficient, and fun way for me to organize these ideas. Hope this helps!

    1. Thank you, Tricia! That’s definitely helpful and in line with what I’m hearing and how I’m now using Pinterest. The thing that clicked for me was when someone likened it to StumbleUpon (I didn’t use that one, but used to use Digg). Bookmarking makes sense, and the addition of the organization layers is great once you get used to it! I really appreciate you reading and giving your feedback, Tricia! Look forward to talking with you again soon!

  8. I’m not addicted at this point but do enjoy Pinterest. This is what appeals to me:

    – Easy way to organize gems I find on the Internet. In the past I would add a bookmark (only to forget that I did) or email myself links (which quickly get lost in my inbox). Pinterest allows me to pin it so I can quickly reference it later.
    – Quick way to discover new items, interesting sites/blogs, etc… I don’t find the time to do a lot of searching unless there is something specific I’m looking for. Pinterest allows me to see what others have discovered. If I see an image that appeals to me, I simply click through to find the original source. I’ve come across some great resources this way that I likely wouldn’t have found without other’s pins.

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