Put your smartphone in the air if you've heard about Pinterest…not yet? You will. Since December, this social media start-up has received a lot of buzz in the online world, and slowly in mainstream media, for the amount of traffic it's generating, even beating out upstart Google+ when it comes to activity. What's Pinterest? It bills itself as "a virtual pinboard, allowing 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." In essence, it's an image sharing site, but unlike other photo-sharing tools, the content on Pinterest has gravitated towards some specific topics: architecture, design and decor, DIY projects, fashion, travel, and of course, food. (It's also worth noting that if you're planning a wedding, there are ideas galore on Pinterest).
As a user, you create pinboards — think of these as photo albums, each with a specific topic — and you "pin" images to those pinboards, either by reposting them from the web, uploading a new image from your hard drive, or "repinning" from another user. I have a pinboard called The Best Thing I Ever Ate, full of foodie images. Some things I've eaten, some are on my bucket list of food adventures. Almost every time I log in to Pinterest, my screen is full of food images. I've even discovered a recipe for Nutella popsicle, with step-by-step visual instructions. Not many restaurants have taken advantage of Pinterest, yet, but several celebrity chefs are there posting recipes, cookbook covers and more. I recently started following Paula Deen's pinboards.
Bacon and butter anyone? Several major brands are using Pinterest in unique ways: the National Post pins images from its travel, food and drink, and driving sections. Whole Foods Market has pinboards called Who wants dinner?! and Eat Your Veggies, along with food-centric boards dedicated to holidays like Thanksgiving and New Year's. And of note, particularly to the wine industry where women dominate wine buying decisions: Pinterest is the first social network dominated by women. You may need an invite from a current pinner to join Pinterest, which is still in Beta phase. If you do, post a message on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/allshewroteconsulting), and I'll get you pinning in no time.