A Collegiette's Guide to Pinterest: What Is Pinterest & How Do You Use Pinterest?


What should you use Pinterest for?
 

Pinterest is your best friend when you’re lost — out of recipe ideas, in need of a starting point for your online shopping, or looking for a thought-provoking book to read. “As a glamour junkie, I look to Pinterest for styling inspiration as well as makeup and hair ideas,” says Boston University sophomore Kelsey Mulvey. “Also, I’m in a ‘I want to grow up and decorate my apartment phase,’ so I use Pinterest for that, too.” Once you get started, one pin will lead to another; search “Tory Burch,” for instance, and you’ll see pins of everything from Tory Burch cardigans to pictures of the woman herself, boards on fashion and influential women, and Tory’s official Pinterest account if you’re looking to follow her.
 
Don’t forget the capability of sites like Pinterest to serve practical uses, as well, such as guiding you along your career track. You can follow the stars of your chosen field, as well as promote your own brand and aspirations. “I dream of a career in the fashion industry, which obviously emphasizes styling and aesthetically pleasing things,” adds Kelsey. “I use Pinterest to show people and expand my vision.” That practicality can apply to everyday tasks, as well. “My roommates and I pin cool recipes,” shares Kenyatta Giddings, a junior at the University of Texas at Austin. “Every weekend we choose one to recreate at home!”
 
How do you pin things?
 

The most valuable advice we can give you for successful Pinterest use is to install the aforementioned “Pin It” button on your bookmarks bar, which lets you add images from any website to one of your boards. There’s no need to worry about copyright infringement; Pinterest automatically keeps track of the source in order to credit the original owner of the image. You can either use the handy “Pin It” button as you browse, or go to the “Add+” tab at the top right-hand corner of Pinterest, which allows you to pin something from elsewhere, upload a pin from your desktop, or create a board. Note that you spend anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours pinning your face off, depending on your self-control and ability to not click on every pretty picture you see. It doesn’t help that the adjusting scroll bar allows you to scroll down virtually forever. If you finish pinning in less than 20 minutes, congratulations — you have the attention span of a goddess. But to the mere mortals out there, consider yourself warned.
 
How do you find fun people to follow?
 
Much like Twitter, Pinterest allows you to follow anyone from your favorite designer to your newest friend. After you first click on that magical invitation link and make a user name, you’re asked to choose whatever you like to browse most, from Food & Drink to Technology to Weddings — a system comparable to StumbleUpon’s initial list of interests.
 
But when it comes to choosing your first people to follow, Pinterest has a nifty little feature that does the dirty work for you: instead of coming up with your own people to follow, Pinterest chooses prominent figures in your selected categories and has you follow them automatically. After browsing a few of them, you’ll have an idea of what other people’s boards look like and the cool things they post, which will help you get started on your own boards and pins. “I follow people who I notice pin things that interest me,” says Indiana University sophomore Courtney Kabbes. “I’ve also searched the web for the ‘best pinners to follow.’ Once I found those accounts, I look at who they’re following. If they’re the ‘best,’ the boards they follow must be great, too!”