Friday, December 23, 2011

What Is Pinterest And Why Should You Care?

According to Hitwise, during the week ending December 17, a new website called Pinterest, which so far is available by invitation only, saw more than 11 million visitors securing it a place in the top 10 most popular sites on the web.

Not bad for a one-year-old upstart social media network which is not much more than a digital pin board.

Users create an account then proceed to stick images and messages to their "board" with links back to the original content. If it sounds simplistic, that's because it is. Which might also explain its huge popularity.

If there is one lesson to be learned from the first few years of social media networking, it's that simple is good. This explains the popularity of Twitter, and the public outcry every time Facebook adds a new feature.

People want to interact via social networking, but they don't want the service to be overly complicated. They want to share some specific pieces of information, but not their entire life. They want to communicate with people, but not everyone in the entire world. And above all else, they want it to be easy to use.

Did I say that twice? It's worth repeating.

The popularity of Pinterest seems to be growing even though the site is strictly limiting the number of invitations. Once it opens to the public I can imagine their site traffic will jump even higher. If their stock goes public, well, who knows what might happen.

Of course the success of Pinterest is built upon its simplicity. We have seen several examples just this year of companies taking a simple idea and over complicating it to the point where users began to leave (Netflix, I'm talking to you.)
If Pinterest can maintain its simplicity, yet also further develop its network, possibly integrating it with other social media service, then I think it stands a pretty god chance of continued success.

For those without an invite (you can get one from a friend), Pinterest lets users virtually “pin” products and items they find across the web to their own themed pin boards. It’s a way to collect recipes, home decorating ideas or share your personal style with friends. It’s inherently social in nature, so you can browse friends’ pins and boards, and re-pin your favorite items to your own pin boards.

The site is most popular with females and arts and crafts enthusiasts between the ages of 25 and 44, and its user base is anything but typical — at least for a social network. “Pinterest over-indexes on visits from the states in the Northwest and Southeast,” said Heather Dougherty, research director at Hitwise. “This data indicates that Pinterest visitors have a different profile versus their counterparts visiting other social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube.”

Click here to read more about Pinterest from SocialBeat.

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