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Pinterest: is it really just cupcakes and kittens?

9 Mar, 12 | by BMJ

The image-sharing site Pinterest has enjoyed dramatic growth since its launch in February 2010. The service’s user base has grown rapidly, from 1.6 million visitors in September 2011 to 11.1 million visitors in February 2012. According to comScore, it has become the the “fastest standalone website to surpass the 10 million mark”. Not only does Pinterest drive more traffic to retail sites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined, it also drives more traffic to blogs than Twitter. Analytics also show that when it comes to engagement, Pinterest is second only to Facebook — its users spend, on average, 89 minutes per month on the social network.

However, there’s still a healthily high percentage of people who have heard nothing about Pinterest. So, what’s all the fuss about? And is it really dominated by images of cute kittens and elaborately conceived cupcakes?

Pinterest allows users to curate collections of images from across the Web under different “boards” or categories. If a photo strikes a user’s fancy, they can repin it (Pinterest lingo for posting it) to their own board with a few clicks.

Pin: A pin is an image added to Pinterest. You can link to an image from a Web site or upload an image from your computer. Pins can also include captions.

Repin: Once something is pinned, it can then be repinned by other Pinterest users. This is how content spreads virally. If you see something you like on, repin it to share it with your friends.

Board: This is where your pins live. You can have separate boards for subjects such as a wedding, rooms in your house or favorite recipes.

In the same vein as other social networks, users build a list of people to follow on Pinterest. These choices then have a direct impact on what appears on your homepage. Users can choose to follow all boards belonging to another person, or just a single board. Linking Pinterest to Facebook will also let a user see which of his or her Facebook friends are on the social network.

Who’s using it?

According to Google Ad Planner, Pinterest’s US audience in Jan 2012 was largely interested in fashion, arts and crafts, recipes, and interior design. According to comScore data, females currently account for 68% of the site’s visitors worldwide and a huge 85% of the activity,

In the UK, however,  the demographic picture is very different with a mostly male audience. These users are interested in a very different agenda, including web analysis and blogging services. It has been suggested that “early adopters” are dominating in the UK and that this will shift over time as the service becomes more mainstream.

For more information on how to use Pinterest, check out the video tutorial below:

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