Today I was discussing the appeal of Pinterest with a couple of friends. One of them saw the pinboards as a self-absorbed attempt by pinners to shape a "cool" online persona. There's plenty of that, but to me the real appeal of Pinterest is more interesting, and it's all about who you Follow.
Sure, there are those who use Pinterest as a brag board. But they generally pin a few "wedding idea" or "my style" pictures and forget about it. The pinners who stick with it, and the few who amass thousands/hundreds of thousands/millions of followers, are the ones who have well-curated boards that show a distinct aesthetic viewpoint, a range of interests, and some pretty pictures. The organization and intentionality of these pinners is obvious by the names of their pinboards, the number of pins, and the themes a browser can see emerging when scanning the images.
So yeah, there's a lot of crap on Pinterest. But once you figure out who is posting the truly interesting pictures, under evocatively named categories, follow them.* If you see an image you love, track it down. Find the original artist, buy a print, send them an email or follow their blog. Give credit where credit is due.
Full disclosure: I am a HUGE Pinterest fan. Putting off classwork was never so fun! This link will take you to my own Pinterest boards:
*Incidentally, "Unfollowing" is easy.
Here's a quick gloss about using Pinterest: Every pin comes labeled with the caption, the original source, and two easy buttons: "Repin" and "Like". (You may comment on the pins, but be aware that deleting comments is difficult - I haven't figured it out yet - and everyone has access to everyone else's pins and comments.)
To Unfollow: At the very bottom of each pin is a series of thumbnails, labeled "Pinned onto the board" followed by the original pinner and the website the image originally came from. If you are subscribed to follow a board, the "Unfollow" option will be in grey. Click it, and it will become a red "Follow" button. Voila! You're unsubscribed. This action will not show up in the pinner's feed, though any time you repin or follow one or all of their boards they will receive an alert.