Not to sound all snooty, as if I have the proper way to use the site, but let's consider some things.
Q&A About Using Pinterest
Q: So, I opened the site and signed up for an account. Now what?
A: Consider Pinterest as sort of a notebook. Let's say you are looking for ideas on a particular subject and you tear ideas out of magazines and paste them into a notebook or ring binder. It's sort of like that. Your boards should be topical to help you find things later.
Q: I see a bunch of ideas on the site. What do I do with this page full of pictures?
A: Each of those little images is really a link to something. They should be a link to a website (we will discuss below) but sometimes, they are a link to a photo. There is a brief description under each image. Sometimes it includes enough info that you don't need to click through to the website. But most of the time, when you click the image, you'll be taken to a website or blog post with details about the project or idea pinned.
Q: Do I really need to follow people?
A: Well, I guess not. But it's a social site, so being social helps. Also, I choose to follow people who pin things I'm more interested in. If I log in and only browse the main page in a category, I'm missing out on posts specific to my tastes. I follow some people I've never met because I love their tastes. This is very different from how I use Facebook and other sites.
Q: Do I have to follow everything a particular "pinner" posts?
A: No. You can either follow all of his or her boards, or you can choose just specific topics. If someone posts great sewing patterns on one board, but is also into tattoos and piercings, I don't have to receive all of the posts about the latter if I don't wish to. You can always go to that persons page and unfollow the boards you'd rather not follow.
Q: Do I have to have boards?
A: Again, not really. But then you'll miss out on the main point of Pinterest. I can't remember a blessed thing, so I have to have boards to pin the stuff I really like. Otherwise, I have nowhere to file it.
Q: How do I pin something?
A: You can either see something you like that someone else has pinned on Pinterest and you pin it to your own board. Or, you can install a little shortcut on your internet browser so that you have a button on your toolbar that says "pin it" and you can pin something from the internet to your own board.
Q: Is Pinterest only for women?
A: Nope. There is a lot of stuff on there. I am particular to DIY projects, cooking, crafts and decorating. But there is a ton of other stuff in other categories on there. I consider it a lot like a pictorial search engine.Did you think of question I missed? Post comments below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
Now, for the tips on being a good pinner and posting useful content. I have created my own set of rules that I use. Perhaps you'll find them helpful.
7 Tips for Pinning Better
- Pin only content that goes somewhere. Meaning, I check the link before I repin something. If the link doesn't go to anything but a photo, it isn't helpful. I don't pin unless I have clicked the link and checked it out.
- Pin only content that doesn't violate someone's copyright. I'm careful about pinning to Etsy posts. This is because the person is selling the item. It is rude if I pin to it with the sole intent of copying that person's idea. Sort of like when I'm selling something at a craft sale and people are taking pictures and commenting about how they could make it at home.
- Pin only to the actual permalink to a blog post. In other words, when I'm on the blog page, I make sure I click on the title of the blog post and then click my "Pin it" shortcut. If you click on the blog's main home page, when someone else clicks your pin a month or two later, it will take them to the blog home page, not to the specific post you pinned.
- Change the wording in the description of the pin if the person who posted before me says something that doesn't sound at all like me.I do not say things like, "OMG, I'm dying to try these brownies. They are supercalifragilisticexpialidociously delicious!!!!"
- Use keywords in your description. Sometimes, a pin will simply say "cool" in the description. How can anyone find that in a search. A better option would be, "Cool. These look like easy crafts made from recycled bottles." Now, when someone is searching for crafts made with recycled bottles, they find your pin.
- Pin your own blog content. Want to get traffic to your blog? Go to your own post and pin it to your boards.
- Use the like button to save ambiguous content. If I find content I like, but it doesn't fit these rules above, I often click "like". This way, I can find it again if I want to, but I'm not intentionally perpetuating the pinning of something that goes nowhere, or violates someone's copyrights.
For those pins that go to nothing, Pinterest is a big fail. But for those that are thoughtfully pinned, it's a fantastic site!