The fact that you are reading this indicates that you either have been using it or have heard a lot about something known as Pinterest. There is possibly a good chance that you might be thinking of it as the next Facebook.
This two year old start-up with 16 employees based out of Palo Alto, California hit the viral waves last month when it became the fastest site ever to cross 10 million users. The site is still under an invite-only beta but its meteoric rise is exciting social media experts and marketing analysts, who have started to think of it as the next facebook. Nearly 12 million users from the US and UK flocked to the virtual bulletin board in January to pin up pictures of their favorite things.
Everyone however is not a social media geek or an early adopter so there’s still a healthily high percentage of people who have heard nothing about Pinterest. If you are eager to find out, then read on as we explore the most pressing questions about what could possible be the next facebook using all the elements the social media world has to offer today.
Pinterest provides virtual pinboards onto which members can ‘pin’ collections of images. These can be pictures they have taken themselves or images collected from around the web. There is no limit to how many boards you can have and users are collecting all kinds of things, from clothes they want to buy to possible paint colours for a decorating project.
Similar to a Twitter stream, you get real-time updates of what the people you follow are pinning. You can also easily share your pins on Facebook and Twitter.
So far Pinterest has seen women as its major demographic, so much so that it has also been referred to as a Facebook for women. In the US, this stereotype seems to be broadly true: 83 per cent of Pinterest’s US users are female. In Britain, however 56 per cent users are male.
Depending on who you are there are a number of reasons why you should try learning about Pinterest. If you are a social and digital media savvy individual with a strong interest in fashion, arts and crafts, recipes, seasonal events and holidays, and interior design then you’ll find plenty of inspiration and things of interest here. People scouring the web for fashion are nearly 11 times more likely to gravitate toward Pinterest than the average web surfer, according to Google Ad Planner. You would also like Pinterest more than Facebook or Twitter, if you are a highly visual person and dislike the numerous content streams that dominate most social networks today.
As a business or a brand its again becomes important for you to start thinking about Pinterest as it currently has a highly engaged audience and is driving referrals in large numbers. According to content sharing firm Shareaholic, Pinterest drove 3.6 percent of all Web traffic referrals to other sites in January, more than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Pinterest placed just behind Twitter for fourth place on that traffic referral list, with Facebook No. 1 at 26.4 percent.
Once you are on Pinterest and have started using it you’ll discover that like the other big social media networks, Pinterest too has its own lingo which is a vital ingredient if it dreams of becoming the next facebook. Terms like pins, pin-it, boards and repins have gone mainstream thanks to the popularity of Pinterest.
However, will it be the next Facebook or Twitter? At this point it is difficult to predict whether Pinterest will continue to grow at a phenomenal rate or whether this current wave of interest will subside. It is though safe to think that it will not be a major threat to the established players as it is essentially a specialist social network catering to only certain kinds of people.
Currently, Pinterest is only being used by people in the US and UK however if the site takes off and starts expanding to other regions around the world, it will surely start developing regional variations which will make it extremely exciting. Country specific pages will allow users from around the world to get a real visual glimpse of the different cultures and behavioral patterns of people, thus enabling global brands to get strong insights into their products.
In conclusion it can be said that Pinterest certainly has a novel concept and is much better than Google+, but it still has a long way to go before it reaches the success of Facebook.
Interested in how Facebook got started? Check out our interview with Divya Narendra, one of the site's original founders