Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 4, 2012

Like it? Pin it!

Pinterest inspires users to be creative

JAMIE PARSELL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD —  If you like it, you better put a pin on it. From weddings to birthday parties, the online pinboard Pinterest is turning every aspect of human life — weddings, gardens, parties, dinners, style, fitness — into an organized scrapbook, minus the stickers.

The website allows users to create boards filled with pins, which is a simply an image from a website. Each pin links back to the original site. Once a user pins an image, they add it to their board, organized by topic.

Chanel Isaac of Princeton, formerly of Georgia, has created boards for her upcoming wedding.

“I pin floral arrangements, ceremony decor and wedding favor ideas,” Isaac said. “But the most helpful has been to pin staged photography shots to share with my photographer. These are shots that I would like captured at my wedding as well, so my photographer followed me on Pinterest and was able to see my board to know how I wanted this important day captured.”

Pinterest is also a social network. When users create a board and start pinning, friends can follow and see new pins. According the website, Pinterest connects people and reveals a common link based on favorite recipes, wedding ideas, books and more. The site is also linked to Facebook and Twitter accounts, making it easy to share pins.

Since Isaac is planning an out-of-state wedding, Pinterest has one of the main forms of communication between vendors, planners and family in Georgia and  Isaac’s new life in West Virginia.

“Pinterest has saved me money and time. For one, I didn’t have to stock pile bridal magazines to find inspiration photos for my wedding and second, I can search for key phrases that help narrow down all the wedding related information out there,” she said.

Pam Addair, also of Princeton, discovered Pinterest from her niece Hillary. The two were discussing Addair’s daughter Madison and her upcoming birthday party. Madison wanted a Lalaloopsy party, but there was no party supplies depicting the magical rag dolls.

“My niece said I bet you could get some ideas from Pinterest. She was pinning wedding ideas on the site. She invited me to join and I got set up,” Addair said.

That night, she spent four hours pinning ideas for the party

“We went wild,” she admitted. “I did more for this birthday party than I have ever done before.”

With help from family and friends, Addair created giant lollipops out of PVC pipes for the yard, balloon garland, candy centerpieces, button-decorated cupcakes, tulle-trimmed tables and more.

“I am not a crafty person,” she said. “I would have never thought of this stuff. All of these ideas came from Pinterest.”

Even without a party to plan, Addair visits the site everyday. The site is not limited to weddings and parties; users can find household tips for removing ink stains to gluten-free recipes for spring. Besides her wedding, Isaac finds inspiration for recipes and cooking, plus more.

“Gift ideas are awesome for themed presents like a baby shower, bridal shower or bachelorette party. Household tips and tricks — ways to organize my home. I never thought were possible until Pinterest,” Isaac added.

The site launched in 2010 and in December 2011, more than 7 million users visited, up from  1.6 million in September 2011. A report from Shareacholic claims the site drove more traffic than Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn combined during the month of January.

Is Pinterest a man-free zone? Hidden among cupcakes, centerpieces and designer shoes are guy-friendly pins such as cars, boats, sports, the outdoors and more.

Jason Holliday, a native of Beckley and a graduate of Concord University in Athens, uses the site for his marketing job at Larson O. Brien Marketing Group in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“I work for a public relations firm that specializes in the building products industry. We often release stories about projects that our clients have completed,” Holliday said. “There are several architects using Pinterest so this is another way to reach them directly. A photo of an interesting building that leads to a story about our project/product/customer is a great source.”

He knows plenty of females use the site for planning events, but don’t count the guys out yet.

“ ... I think there is a great place for guys — sports, cars, woodworking and etc. I think Pinterest can be tailored to any person and their interests,” he said.

Business like Holliday’s company are also finding Pinterest to be a valuable networking tool. Isaac, a personal trainer, pins images about fitness and nutrition. She believes the site is a combination of graphic stimulation and inspiration at it’s finest. It also replaces traditional website bookmarking, she added.

“ ... with Pinterest, the images stimulate your memory,” she said.

Too often, Internet users bookmark sites and then forget about them. A pin is a visual reminder, according to Isaac.

Networks like HGTV, women’s magazines, stores such as Tuesday Morning and even Southwest Airlines are just a couple of name-brand companies looking to link customers together with a few pins.

Craft Memorial Library in Bluefield recently hosted a Pinterest workshop for local residents. Director Eva McGuire said the library often has programs that deal with technology such as Facebook. They felt Pinterest was gaining interest in the community. Participants at the workshop learned how to set up an account, log in and start pinning their favorite images. McGuire said the library has an account as well.

“We pin new books, crafts for kids, things for teens and even staff’s pick about what we read,” McGuire said.

The library uploads pictures about their programs for others to pin. Users can follow the links to the Craft Memorial Library’s website. McGuire said they will help any patrons who need help with the popular website. Pinterest can be found at online at www.pinterest.com.

— Contact Jamie Parsell at jparsell@bdtonline.com.