Over the past 6 months or so the buzz for a new social network has been gathering considerable momentum among the digital fraternity and slightly further afield. Pinterest has joined the millions that have gone before it, hailed as ‘the next big social network’ and a potential ‘Twitter/ Facebook/ Flickr killer’.
Pinterest for those not ‘down with the kids’ is a social network that allows users to create boards of images based on their desired topics (a digital mood board, if you will) which others can choose to ‘re-pin’ to their board and comment on accordingly. Simple and useful, but the comparison with Facebook and Twitter is laughable and smacks of laziness on the part of the media writers who have simply run out of ways to explain the offering and impact that the medium may have.
So how is Pinterest useful? Well, if you’re getting married or buying a house, you’ll know all too well that mood boards are a great way to document all your ideas. The problem with physical mood boards is the sourcing of the various ideas from dozens of expensive magazines. Pinterest offers you the entire web; and not just images and websites you find, but you can also follow and repin the ideas of thousands of other like minded brides to be or home-owners, making the whole experience a social one – brilliant.
What about businesses? We all know that businesses like jumping on the bandwagon of all of these new found, ‘next big thing’ social mediums, but where is the real value?
Pinterest is, as you may imagine, a great network for any business that relies on great visuals. Designers of any kind (interior, clothing etc) for example, work very well as these are things people create boards for. By simply creating boards of your work (traditional bathrooms for example) offers those images out to people creating bathroom related boards. The more re-pins, the wider your message (or image) is spread and the more people that can see the great service/ product you have to offer; opening them up as potential customers.
So, it’s a great way to get people excited about the beautiful products you sell, and it’s the next big thing so how long until these 500 million+ Pinterest-ers start engaging with me? Well… That’s it. The whole digital scene has got so caught up in all the excitement, they’ve forgotten that Pinterest is very much in it’s infancy. As James Carson said in his talk at Think Visibility, “Pinterest has a smaller user base than MySpace; but MySpace is dead isn’t it?”(at the time of the talk) The point being is that, yes, Pinterest is a great idea and can provide a host of businesses real value (as part of a good marketing mix) however, it is way too small for anyone to suggest that it should be at the forefront of any digital strategy.