If a social service is going to grab me, it has to have two things, in varying degrees: utility and visually appealing design. If it has visually appealing design, but only a bit of utility, then I may play around with it for the sheer beauty of it. If it has tons of utility, but crappy design (I’m looking at you Twitter), then I will still play around with it, but might avert my eyes a bit. Pinterest has a healthy dose of both criteria.
What is it? Pinterest is an online scrapbook / pinboard / visual bookmarking / social network. Now that is an eyeful! The idea is to use Pinterest to save beautiful, useful, interesting things, but I can imagine it moving beyond that for your own personal use. Create a profile, mark your interests, and start pinning stuff. Save your web finds (called “pins”) on “boards”, which resemble a page or bulletin board. Organize and share your pins and boards and browse those created by others, tagged with your interests. You can use a bookmarklet to “pin” from across the Web, or you can upload your own images (super simple with the iPhone app for saving stuff while on the go). You can re-pin something that someone else has pinned – pin-etiquette suggests that you should credit the original pinner with the save. Thus, the site is also social in that it encourages you to browse others stuff and interact via the repinning and crediting functions. You can also comment on pins, “like” someone’s pin and share your own pin with another user who might also like what you are saving.
Another cool feature is the ability to open your boards up to other contributors. Say you have a firm and you want some ideas on how to decorate the lobby. Each member of your firm assigned to designing the lobby could create Pinterest profiles. Open a board called “Lobby Design” and set your contributing members loose on the web.
Fit out your website with a Pinterest badge to encourage people to visit Pinterest and marvel at your design sense. Or add a “Pin it” button to your site in the hopes that other Pinterest users will reward you with a “pin”.
Even their FAQ is visually appealing. Way to go Pinterest – the “pin”nacle of design and utility!