Pinterest 101: So… what is it?

As you may have seen, SavingStar launched a new page on Pinterest, where we’ll be adding lots and lots of great-looking recipes that use ingredients featured in our eCoupons.

Which is awesome, if you know what Pinterest is.  Until about two months ago, I didn’t.  But now I do, and I kind of love it, so I thought I’d offer this little introductory course on what it is and how it works, so you too can join the world of pinning.

At its core, Pinterest is an personal online bulletin board system.  Once you sign up, you create your Boards - basically, you name categories of stuff that you want to be able to keep track of.  Then, as you roam around the internet world, if you see something you like/need/want, you “pin it” to one of your Boards, so you have it nicely stored and saved away in a logical place.

What’s great is that what you pin to your Pinterest Boards are images that link back to the original page the image appeared on.  So, instead of having a random saved email draft called “Birthday Party Ideas” with a long list of text links copied and pasted in that you have to click on one by one to see what they are (ahem… yes I used to do this), you instead have a vibrant, colorful, to-the-point collage of sorts showing all the great things you have in mind, in an easy-to-see, efficient format.

This is a screenshot of one of my Pinterest boards, Design Ideas. What used to be a messy system of dog-earing catalog pages and saving links in emails to myself now is a happy, visually pleasing collage. Hooray.

What’s amazing about Pinterest is that with just a simple, clean system of visual organization, suddenly all the random thoughts and ideas you had floating around in your head (or your email, or a file folder, or a scrap of paper) can have a home and be easy to get to – from your computer or even your phone (yes, of course, there’s an app.)  Be gone, feelings of scatterbrainedness!

You can create Boards for anything – the ones I seem to be actively adding to the most are Design Ideas (for the eventual kitchen renovation that I keep convincing myself is just a year or so off), Kid Art (arts and crafts projects to do with my girls and their classmates), Kid Activities (rainy-day-type things to turn to when I’ve run out of patience, a.k.a. daily at 4 pm), and finally, Recipes (pretty self explanatory, I hope.)

Now, as you add to your Pinterest Boards, you have some options.  You can troll around Internetland on your own and just pin the things you find yourself.  Or, you can also look at the things that other people are pinning to their Boards… this is where it starts getting fun.  You can browse around somebody else’s Boards and see if they have any good stuff worth repinning, or you can look in global categories (such as Home Decor) and see what the Pinterest community at large is bucketing away in that category.  When you find somebody whose pins you like, you can start to “follow” their pins, and be able to see them when you log in to your Pinterest account.  (Productive voyeurism is the best.)

And now, with SavingStar’s new Pinterest page launched, you can follow SavingStar to see recipes using SavingStar eCoupon products – over 125 recipes are posted already, bucketed into Boards based on the couponed ingredient they use.  Go ahead and check it out at pinterest.com/savingstar.

And if you’ve read enough to decide you want to give Pinterest a whirl, here’s how you sign up.  You head on over to pinterest.com and “request an invite” – this is what I did – and Pinterest will send you an invitation via email to sign up.  I will warn you that it’s not instantaneous, so it’s kind of a pain.  I think it took 2 hours for my invitation to arrive in my inbox so I could finish signing up.  (I’m not quite sure what the logic is behind these invitation-only online communities, if they’re willing to give you the invite if you ask.  Just let me sign up on the homepage right away, then.  Sheesh.)  But despite my initial annoyance at having to wait, I was quickly won over by the simplicity of Pinterest, and it pretty much instantly secured a spot on my list of online addictions.

I hope this little tutorial has you feeling a little better about your Pinterest awareness levels, and I also hope that if you do sign up for Pinterest, you check out SavingStar’s pins!  Enjoy your trolling and pinning!

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