Pinterest 101: How Can Geeks Use It?

Yesterday, we discussed Pinterest and how it’s not just for the ladies anymore. But, for those among us who have not had a lady around talking about Pinterest and sharing pictures of shoes with ...
Pinterest 101: How Can Geeks Use It?
Written by Mike Tuttle
  • Yesterday, we discussed Pinterest and how it’s not just for the ladies anymore. But, for those among us who have not had a lady around talking about Pinterest and sharing pictures of shoes with each other, let’s back up a moment.

    What is Pinterest? Let’s get it straight from the horses mouth.

    Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

    People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.”

    Now, for those of you who have been questioning my “it’s not just for ladies anymore” approach as possibly sexist (who ever said it was for ladies in the first place?), how many sites talk about “the beautiful things” on the web? How many guys plan weddings? Share recipes? Pinterest was designed for women. And, it’s been great for that.

    I cook quite a lot (chili, kebobs, etc). But, when my wife found this, I was an instant fan of Pinterest:

    And, she’s planning this one for the Super Bowl:

    So, upon investigating Pinterest for myself, I found the “guy” stuff. I talked about that yesterday. I did, however, neglect to mention the beer on Pinterest.

    And the bacon.

    So, how do you get on Pinterest? How do you find the bacon? How do you find other cool tech stuff? How do you set yourself up so you see what you want to see, and not so much of the wedding planning and hair curling?

    A couple of things to understand about the concept of Pinterest first. If you are familiar with Reddit or other such “look what I found guys!” sites, the layout of Pinterest may be a bit different. Once you catch the lingo, though, you’ll be off and running.

    The first thing you need to understand are Pins and Boards. Simply put, pins are pics and links you choose to share with others. Boards are the categories you put you pins into.

    An old-school, low-tech parallel (and the image Pinterest is going for) would be dozens of cork bulletin boards (pin boards) around a room. You clip stuff out of magazines and pin them to different boards. One board might be all the “Cool iPhone Stuff” you find – protective cases, apps, rumors about upcoming releases, etc. Another might be “Cars”. Another “Clothes That Make Me Look Like a Double-Naught Spy”. Whatever you like.

    Pins on Pinterest are images or videos, not just links (a la Reddit). You have to have an image to pin to your board. That image can certainly have a link associated with it. Pinterest offers advice on pinning and how to have a good pin on its Help page.

    Part of the point of Pinterest is organizing (recipes, DIY projects, etc). The other is sharing. So, you can share your pins. More on that later.

    So, now that we have the concept down. Let’s get you on and experimenting.

    You have to be invited to Pinterest. Latest word is that Pinterest responds pretty quickly to invite requests. Hop over to Pinterest, hit the Request An Invite button (or this link).

    Once you have your invite email, get signed up. You have the option to use an email address or a username as your Pinterest login. Use whichever will be easiest for you to keep track of. But know that the login page you will usually see asks for “email address”. Your username, without any email info, can be used there, though. Pinterest should change that labeling on the login page.

    Ok. You’re in.

    You’ll have a chance to select some other “pinners” to follow, to create some boards if you like. You can skip that for now while you find your way around.

    Browse around all you like. The top middle of the page has a drop down that you can use to specify categories you would like to see. Start narrowing things down a bit and find things more specifically in your areas of interest. We’ll head into “Technology“.

    Right off the bat, I notice this:

    Which is linked to an article here.

    Now we have the option to “Like” or to “Repin” this item. Liking it is familiar to Facebook users, etc. Whereas repinning adds this item to your own. You have to have made at least one board to pin to. I have one called “Tech stuff”, so I re-pin this item.

    When re-pinning, you have the chance to include a description. You can mention another user you are following, if you like. This is done with the @ symbol, just like mentions on Facebook.

    We also can Like this item on Facebook, Tweet it, get an embed code for it (which I have been using throughout this article), email it, or report it.

    And, we’re off and running.

    So, create a few boards for yourself. Browse around a bit. You can add people you follow to your boards s contributors. You’ll end up with tons of stuff you like fed to you. I suggest being specific in how you name your boards so your friends have a better idea on what you want there. Or, create a “From My Friends” boards that serves as a catch-all for stuff friends suggest to you. Then, re-pin what you like to your other boards as you want to.

    Pinterest has a “Pin It” button you can add to your website so others can pin your posts, similar to how they can Tweet those posts.

    They also have an iPhone app (though it is reported to be problematic right now), a “Pin It” bookmarklet for your browser’s bookmarks toolbar so you can pin items on the fly, and other goodies.

    While you are geeking out on all the cool tech stuff, don’t neglect the recipes. Any Super Bowl or office party can only get better with this recipe for cheesy garlic rolls just like Red Lobster makes.

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