Pinterest Review

So what's the buzz about Pinterest?  What about it has caused its popularity to skyrocket, and what about it has attracted criticism?  The following is a list of the website's high and low points, so you can figure out if its worth signing up for.

Pros

  • Free to use – Whether you use Pinterest for yourself or for your business, it's absolutely free!

  • Keep yourself organized – By creating "boards" (i.e. custom categories), you can organize your "pins" (i.e. bookmarks) however you want.  One board could be for recipes, one for decor ideas, one for photographs you like, one for tips on staying healthy and active, and so on.

  • Many ways to fill in your boards – You can add pins to your boards in multiple ways. You can upload a file from your computer and use that as a pin, or you can create a pin by typing in a web page's address.  And you can always just search for a pin that someone else has already posted!

  • Pin right along with your friends – Wondering which of your friends are already using Pinterest?  Link your account with your other social media accounts — such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus — and get connected!

  • Share boards with as many or as few people as you want – Create "group boards" to let multiple people pin to the same board, if you share a common interest.  Or, create a "secret board," where nobody knows where it is or what pins are on it except you and the people whom you specifically choose.

  • A new way to search – Pinterest uses a system known as "guided search." If you don't find what you're looking for on the first go, your search terms become keywords that you can add and remove as you see fit until you get where you want to go.  You can also organize your results by pins, boards, or users.

Cons

  • Be careful about getting wanderlust – With so much to see and discover on Pinterest, it's easy to lose track of time when using it.  Make sure to watch the clock!

  • Mind your privacy – "Secret boards" cannot be made private again once you make them public, and "pins" that you create are almost impossible to get rid of (even if you delete them) once other people have shared them.  In general, like any social media website, be careful about what kinds of information about yourself you post on Pinterest.

  • Watch out for "bait-and-switch" tactics – There are currently a few tools for verifying Pinterest accounts or bookmarks. Some people may not be who they say they are, and some "pins" may not take you anywhere, or take you somewhere inappropriate or where you can be scammed.  Fortunately, this isn't as common as you'd think, and exercising a bit of common sense should steer you clear of most of these kinds of problems.

The bottom line: 9/10

In addition to the fact that it's totally free to use, one of the most appealing things about Pinterest is its versatility.  With its easy-to-use interface and search function, it's great for keeping your online life well-organized.  Bring content together from Pinterest, from the Internet at large, and from your own life, and sort it with categories that you create.  Plan out travel destinations that you'd like to visit.  Get ideas on arts and crafts that you can give as gifts or use to personalize your home decor.  Stock up on fashion pins to put together a new look that you want to try.  Collect tips on how to stay active and improve your sports or fitness performance.  Whatever you want to organize, Pinterest will help you do it.  Of course, if you just want to wander around and discover neat things that other people have found, that's totally great, too!

Pinterest isn't perfect, though.  Like many other social media websites, there are some privacy issues, especially when you connect with other social media accounts, or you make your public boards private.  There are also a few security issues that have to do with people not being who they say they are (especially when it comes to celebrity users) and posting fake pins or fake boards to collaborate on.

 

However, these are problems that are relatively rare, and can easily be avoided with a bit of common sense. That all aside, Pinterest.com is a safe and fun way to discover and organize your life, both in the virtual world and the real one.


Is Pinterest Safe?

Since Pinterest.com is a relatively new service, there are questions about how safe it is. Like many social media services where ease-of-access is prioritized over verification, there are certain things to watch out for. It's not that Pinterest isn't taking steps to deal with these problems, mind you; in this article, we're just letting you know that they exist, so you'll know how to spot and avoid them. So, to begin, is Pinterest safe to use?

Pinterest is as safe to use as most other social media websites because users must sign in, and password protect their accounts. It also does not require you to enter personal or financial information, so you have little to compromise by signing up. You biggest concerns are spam or scams from other users.

One of the main safety concerns is that, though you’re required to input your full name and age in order to sign up, Pinterest lacks the capability to determine whether that information is completely accurate. This means that while most people use the site honestly, there are some people who use the anonymity of the website to disguise who they are. These people sometimes attempt to trick others into revealing personal information with fake pins about giveaways or contests. Others will try to sabotage other people's accounts by inviting them to collaborate on boards, then filling those boards with objectionable content on purpose.

Fortunately, these scams are relatively easy to avoid by adjusting a few security settings on your account, as well as exercising a bit of critical thinking and common sense. In the rest of our article, we’ll highlight five tips for staying safe while using Pinterest.

5 Safety tips for using Pinterest

1. If a pin or board seems too good to be true, it is.

You've probably seen or heard of scams over email or telephone where "I lost 100 lbs. in three weeks with a miracle diet pill!" or "You just won an all-expenses-paid cruise!"  While these kinds of scams are rarer than you might think on Pinterest, that's not to say that they don't exist.  Use common sense when it comes to following Internet links attached to pins, or following or commenting on boards. This means things like never posting personal information on your page or account, such as your password, credit card number, or home address. While not every pin advertising something will be a scam, the risk that you will be scammed or have your account or computer hijacked or infected with viruses will usually be far greater than any potential reward, so it's best to stay away.

2. Only collaborate on boards with users you know.

It's probably not a good idea to collaborate on a board with people whom you don't personally know.  The reason for this is that a board you collaborate on will be linked to your own profile, and so any changes to the board will at least partially reflect on you.  Troublemakers will sometimes use this to their advantage by inviting you to collaborate on a board, and then intentionally adding pins to the board that violate Pinterest's content guidelines.  Since the board is partially linked to your account, at best, it won't make you look very good to other users, and at worst, it might get you in trouble.

You can uninvite yourself from a board if you notice this kind of thing happening, but only accepting invites to boards from people you know and trust is a sure-fire way to avoid this problem.  This kind of hijacking usually happens to celebrities and big businesses more often than average users, but it's still something to be aware of.

3. Be wary of fake accounts.

While there are some celebrities who do have genuine Pinterest accounts, there are plenty of others who pose as celebrities and create fake accounts with which to scam people or otherwise cause trouble (by doing things mentioned in the two previous tips, for example).  Unfortunately, there aren't many tools to help people verify certain accounts, so you're just going to have to use common sense.  Look at the number and types of pins that they have, and decide whether they're the amount or kind of pins that a person such as this would have.  It's also a good idea to not accept any invitations to collaborate on boards with celebrities, for reasons described in the previous tip.

4. If you don't want users to see your content, put it on a secret board, or don't post it at all.

Pinterest is a social media website, so it has an emphasis on sharing.  However, there may be some content or information that you don't want to share.  Unfortunately, it's impossible to make a secret board private again once you reveal it, and it's also near impossible to make pins that you yourself upload private again (even if you delete them) once they've been shared with others.

With this in mind, if you don't want other people seeing some of the pins that you create yourself, put them on secret boards.  And before you reveal secret boards, make sure you're okay with people seeing every pin on that board; if you aren't, remove the pins that you don't want made public before you reveal the board.  Finally, you don't have to add any extra information about yourself to your profile beyond what you were asked for when you signed up. So, if you're concerned about your privacy, just leave that stuff blank.

5. Adjust your privacy settings to limit how much information can be used to find you.

In addition to the recommendations in the previous tip, there are a few other things that you can do in the Account Settings area to keep from drawing too much (unwanted) attention to your account.

  • In the "Account Basics" section, change the "Search Privacy" setting to Yes to keep people from being able to find your account through a search engine such as Google Search, Yahoo Search, or Bing.
     
  • In the "Account Basics" section, change both "Personalization" settings to No to keep Pinterest and its advertisers from snooping on your activities both on Pinterest and on other websites.
     
  • In the "Account Basics" section, click Clear Search History beside "Search History" to tell Pinterest to get rid of information regarding what you've searched for on the website.  It's useful if you've built up a sizable search history and the suggestions you receive are getting in the way of other things that you want to look for.
     
  • In the "Social Media" section, try to only connect Pinterest to one or two other accounts.  Besides the fact that your contacts will probably be similar across your social media accounts, Pinterest may try to post your activity to certain social media accounts, so your contacts on those accounts will know what you've been up to on Pinterest. While you can tell them not to do this, an easy way to avoid it is to limit the number of other social media accounts that Pinterest can connect to.

 

And that’s how you keep yourself safe while using Pinterest. If you want to learn more about Pinterest, be sure to check out the rest of our free Pinterest course, including our introductory article on what Pinterest is and how to use it. We can also teach you all about the costs associated with the website, and how to delete pins and boards on your page.


Is Pinterest Free for People and Businesses?

One of the first things that you're probably going to want to know about Pinterest.com is: do I have to pay money to use the website?  Well, there are two types of accounts: personal accounts and business accounts.  Let's have a look at each of them. What? You want an answer right now?  Okay…

How much does Pinterest cost?

Pinterest is free to use for both individual people and businesses. If you have a personal account, it won't cost you anything to sign up, nor does it cost money to use any of the website’s functions. A business account, which includes special promotion and analytics functions, is free as well.

If you want a little more information, read below to learn about the different types of accounts you can sign up for.

Types of Pinterest accounts

Personal accounts

If you're just an individual person signing up, it won't cost you money to use. It's free for you to:

  • Create pages of visual bookmarks (called "boards")
  • Upload images, videos, links, and more to your boards (known as "pinning")
  • Sort your boards and pins
  • Pin content on the Internet or from other people's boards onto your own boards
  • Send one of your pins to another person's board, social media account, email, etc.

Business accounts

Businesses can create accounts, too. In addition to the usual functions, businesses can:

  • Place links on their website to take people to their page on Pinterest
  • See how many people visit their Pinterest page, and what they're looking at the most
  • Use "Rich Pins" to let users do special stuff with the content on your website or page

So, how much do these extra goodies cost businesses to use?  Surprisingly, the answer is: ZERO! That's right, whether you're looking to use Pinterest to promote your business or just for your own amusement, it's absolutely free!

 

"But, wait!" you might say.  "If nobody pays any money to use it, then how do they make any money?"  That's a bit of a complicated question, and one that we'll cover in our article on how Pinterest makes money. But if you’re interested in Pinterest, you’d better first check out our next tutorial about how to stay safe while using it.


What Pinterest Is and How to Find Creative Ideas

Have you ever kept a collection of interesting things in a scrapbook, on a bulletin board, or perhaps on your fridge door? Pictures of friends or loved ones? Drawings or school assignments that your children or grandchildren did? Inspirational quotes or sayings? Newspaper clippings of stories that hit close to home? Pinterest.com is like the Internet's version of that.

Tell me more about Pinterest

Pinterest is a website that lets you find, collect, and organize interesting image-based things that you find on the Internet, find on the website, or put on the website yourself. It does this through a series of user-created categories, called "boards," and a series of visual bookmarks, known as "pins."

Pins can be all sorts of picture-based elements: photos, drawings, videos, animations, Internet links, and so on.  Some will even show you the location that they depict on a map! And boards are used for all sorts of different topics, such as do-it-yourself crafts and activities, recipes, fitness, event planning, home décor, fashion, and so much more.

Pinterest pins

How does Pinterest work?

Pinterest is what is known as a "visual bookmarking tool." A bookmark helps you remember what page you were on when you put a book down so you can pick it up again and continue from the same spot, right?  Similarly, your Internet browser also has a "bookmark" function that lets you tell it to remember important or favourite web pages so you can get back to them quickly if you need or want to. They take the principle even further by letting you store collections of web pages that you find, computer files that you upload, or even things that other people have bookmarked!

The "visual" part of the name refers to the fact that bookmarks have to be — or be accompanied by — a picture, animation, or video. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes! Add visual bookmarks — known as "pins" — to your boards by searching for ones that others have posted on Pinterest, creating them from websites that you've visited, or uploading files from your computer. Then, organize your bookmarks by creating "boards."

Pinterest pin of lunchbox ideas

Pinterest also functions like a social media website. As just mentioned, most things that are bookmarked by others on Pinterest can be added to your bookmark collection. Conversely, most things that you bookmark can be added to the bookmark collections of others. You can also find and connect with people you know by way of your other social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Once you do that, you can create collections that your friends can add bookmarks to as well; things get bigger, done faster, and more fun when you work together!  Or, if you want to share a collection privately with your friends, create a "secret board," and only the people you specifically choose will be allowed to see it or add to it.

6 ways you can start using Pinterest today

1. Create your own custom cookbook and discover countless recipes.

Pinterest recipe pins

Striking a balance between eating delicious and eating healthy is tough these days, and not every recipe collection will have exactly the kinds of foods that you want.  So why not make your own?  Create boards for recipes that are organized by meal time (i.e. breakfast, lunch, or dinner), type of dish (appetizer, snack, main course, dessert, drink, etc.), type of cuisine (French, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Mediterranean, etc.), and more!  There are tons of pins that feature delectable dishes for every occasion, so go ahead and pick your favourites! 

2. Plan a (surprise) party, wedding, social gathering, or milestone event.

Pinterest party planning pins

Does a relative have a major life event coming up, like a wedding or a milestone birthday?  Your boards and pins can help plan a party or reception.  Set up a board, then look for pins that will help you pick out the venue, decorate in style, cater to food needs, manage everyone's wardrobe, pool gift ideas, and more!  Plus, if you want your bash to be a surprise, make it a "secret board" and only invite friends to it who will be helping you with the planning (and whom you trust not to spill the beans).

3. Coordinate your fashion sense.

Pinterest fashion pins

Whether your style is classic, cutting-edge, thrifty, or something else, Pinterest can be a source of inspiration for you. There are lots of pins that help you pick out your must-have clothes or accessories, try out a trendy new hairstyle, or learn about today's top-tier cosmetics!

 4. Save money with do-it-yourself crafts and home décor.

Pinterest DIY pins

Many Pinterest users are all about doing things yourself.  They can show you great ways you can make thrifty, attractive crafts for the home, rather than purchasing them at retail cost. Search for "D.I.Y" users who can help you make anything from a cute customized clipboard to a giant set of speakers. Learn how to transfer your family photos to wood, make your own fragrant bath ball, or even build your own bookshelf out of old crates.

5. Stay fit by organizing and finding new workouts.

Pinterest fitness pins

It's important to stay active, especially as you grow older.  Pinterest can help by letting you organize pins with ideas for your daily regimen, or ones that take things up a notch with advanced workout ideas. Whether you're into yoga, swimming, biking, hiking, aquatic aerobics, Zumba, Pilates, or just plain hitting the gym, there are pins that will give you inspiration for how to stay in shape.

6. Promote your business.

Pinterest business promotion pins

Do you have a small shop or start-up that could use some more customers? "Pinterest for Business" has you covered! You can sign up as a business (or turn a regular account into a business account), and then put up pins to show off your products, space, personnel, and more!  Plus, you can set up a link on Pinterest that leads to your official website; conversely, you can place a link on your website to your business's Pinterest page! You are also offered tools to help you know how many people are looking at your business's page and pins.  Plus, you can create special pins that let your customers see prices, business hours, and more as they change! And it's all free!

 As you can see, the possibilities for using Pinterest are many and varied! Let other users come up with the great ideas, and then put them into practice. Or start adding your own ideas to Pinterest to help others!

The history of Pinterest, and why it’s so popular

Founded by Evan Sharp, Paul Sciarra, and current CEO Ben Silbermann, Pinterest.com went live on the Internet in 2010. In 2012, the site had over 10 million registered users, making it the fastest website to reach this milestone. Pinterest was always (and still is) free to use in its earliest years, and as such, its business model did not generate much revenue. However, starting in 2014, it began allowing companies to purchase advertising space on the website. In 2016, they launched the Pinterest Store, which allows users to buy products that they see advertised instantly.

Pinterest is so popular because it allows users to find great resources and ideas, save them, and share them with others. This helps people share visual information, entertainment, instructions, and more – all on one platform. It's also free to use, even for businesses, and has historically been most popular with women.

To get started with Pinterest:

1. Sign up and let the website know what you would like to see.

Creating an account is fast, easy, and free! Just enter your name, age, gender, and email address, and then pick a password… or sign up with your Facebook account instead! Then, pick at least four categories of things that you're interested in. This will help the site show you some neat bookmarks right off the bat to get your inspiration going!

Choose topics on Pinterest to follow

2. Create your own customizable "boards" to organize your "pins."

Before you make any bookmarks on Pinterest, you have to have places to put them! You can create categories — or "boards" — to store your bookmarks in. Give one a title and a description, and then file it under one of the pre-set topics so that it's easier to find. You can even add map locations to your bookmarks for a board, get other people to add their own bookmarks to a board, or make a board private so that only certain people can see it or add to it.

Pinterest board creation form

3. Add "pins" to your "boards" from websites, other users on Pinterest, or files on your computer.

Once you have some "boards" to store your bookmarks on, it's time to start making your bookmarks — the "pins"! If you have a photo, video, or animation file on your computer, you can upload it and make a pin out of that. Or, if you see a pin that you like that was posted by somebody else, you can copy it to one of your boards. And there are many websites with built-in functions that allow you to quickly and easily turn their content into pins for Pinterest!

Add pins to Pinterest board

4. Connect with friends by linking your personal account to other social networks.

Your Pinterest account can be connected to your accounts on other social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. If you do this, you can find your friends who are already on Pinterest, and then share pins or collaborate on boards together. You can even go the other way and share the things that you find with your other social networks!

Connect Pinterest to other social media

Is Pinterest safe?

Pinterest is about as safe to use as other social media websites.  It requires little personal information (and no financial information) to create an account, and requires password-protected sign-ins to use. You can also adjust your privacy settings in order to control how much you interact with other users.

One thing you may consider before using the website is that user identities cannot be verified.  This means that anyone can appear as they like, and potentially involve other users in scams by tricking them into revealing personal information. Occasionally, fake pins advertising giveaways or contests appear on the website, so exercise caution.  Question pins that appear to be ‘too good to be true,’ as they likely are.

To learn more about how to stay safe, be sure to check out our article on Pinterest safety. There, we have 5 key tips for staying safe while using Pinterest.

Pinterest pros and cons

Pinterest has become popular quickly for good reason, and here are some of our favorite reasons to use it:              

  • It’s completely free to use, even for businesses, and it helps you keep yourself organized when browsing the Internet.
  • Whenever you find those great ideas, recipes, or other things that you generally need to remember, you can save, organize, and visualize them all!
  • You can also share your boards and pins with your friends, as well as connect your Pinterest account to the rest of your social media accounts.
  • Searching for ideas is so easy, especially since the guided search helps you easily add and remove keywords as you go.

On the other side of things:

  • Pinterest can end up being quite time consuming, as it’s easy to get lost in all the content and ideas. Be sure you watch how much time you’re spending browsing!
  • Remember that boards are by-and-large public, so be very mindful of what you put out on the website.
  • Unless you make your boards secret, anyone who has an account can see what's on them, such as your friends, family members, and even strangers all over the world.

Pinterest competitors

There are a few websites out there that you may prefer if Pinterest has too many features that you don't like. One of the most popular ones is Fancy.com, which allows its users to instantly buy many of the bookmarked items that they find. WeHeartIt.com is another alternative that is used primarily for inspiration; “heart” posts that move you and participate in a large community of positivity. Trippy.com is another similar website, but focuses on planning trips and finding vacation destinations. If you’re finding the same things on Pinterest over and over and are looking for a change, one of these sites may be for you.

 

As you can see, Pinterest is both a way to collect interesting things to look at, as well as a social network with which to share and work together with friends (both old and new). Best of all, it's safe, easy to use, and absolutely free! The rest of our course will show you how to use the website by setting up an account and getting inspired about things to collect, creating different types of boards, creating pins in different ways, and searching and adjusting your settings.

We can teach you all about how to sign up, how boards work, and how to pin. We can also set you up by teaching you how to change your settings, how to search better, and what other similar websites are out there for you. Your free Internet scrapbook is waiting! What memories will you keep — or make — on Pinterest?