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Web world takes Pinterest

This article was written by Jamie Offerdahl, a Contributing Author for The Concordian.

There aren’t many places where you’re able to find the latest fashion trends, recipe ideas, makeup tutorials, fitness tips, wedding ideas, jokes, quotes and funny cat pictures all in one convenient location. Pinterest provides just that and more for nearly 12 million visitors weekly.

Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to pin the things they find interesting to online boards, which are sets of pins grouped together in categories like the ones listed above. Users can also follow the activity of other Pinterest users that shows up on a pin feed that displays the activity of the boards that the user follows. To register for Pinterest, new users must receive an invitation from a friend already registered with the site or request an invitation directly from Pinterest itself. According to Hitwise, a company that measures website traffic, in January Pinterest drove more referral traffic to retailers than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. Daily users have also increased by more than 145 percent since the start of 2012.

This astounding increase in registered users has gotten the website noticed by more than just retailers. In December 2011, Gia Rassier, Concordia’s online communication specialist, created a Pinterest account for Concordia. The college’s Pinterest account has many boards, some which are titled, “Around Campus,” “Concordia: Who We Are,” “Corny Crafts” and “Cobberhood, Pinned by Cobbers” – a board where present and past students can contribute their own pins.

“I think of Pinterest as a virtual scrapbook for the college,” Rassier said. “I’ve created various boards ranging from academics and alumni to campus and community life that I hope form a visual representation of what it means to be a Cobber.”

Rassier decided to create a Pinterest account for Concordia because it gives users the opportunity to create and share a very real portrait of who they are and what they love.

“As a graduate and employee of the college, I saw potential to share Concordia story through photo, video and stories that already exist online,” Rassier said. “The ability to repin and share pins to other platforms means endless opportunity to reach others who may never have heard of Concordia.”

Rassier believes that the reason Pinterest has become so popular is because it took the element of Facebook that people fell in love with – the photos – but takes it a step further.

“I think Pinterest goes beyond sharing photos,” Rassier said. “It grabs and hooks users because it connects them to their passions. The interface is clean, simple and easy to navigate. It also integrates well with two popular social media sites: Facebook and Twitter.”

Senior Kristin Thompson, president of the Concordia marketing club, believes that Pinterest is a great idea, especially for start-up companies.

“Because you can link it with Facebook and Twitter, I feel like it would be an easy transition for companies to make,” Thompson said. “It’s free and it’s amazing advertising – especially with how popular it’s become lately.”

Businesses can upload pictures of their products that link to their websites. With nearly 12 million visitors weekly, this traffic could do great things for a business that is just starting out. Senior Keisha Sollie believes that this feature of Pinterest is an advantage over other social networking sites because of the accessibility of products.

“I was scrolling through [Pinterest] the other day and came across a picture of a necklace that caught my eye,” Sollie said. “It’s from a company out of Washington that I definitely never would have heard of otherwise, and now I’m probably going to buy their product. I’m not looking to purchase things when I’m on Facebook.”

With the amount of jewelry, recipes and arts and crafts that are on the site, it’s doesn’t come as much of a surprise that only three percent of Pinterest users are male.

Senior Lex Lunde, who helps to contribute to the three percent of male users, believes that the site is geared towards females, but he decided to join after seeing an image that really touched him.

“I saw some really cool uploads on Facebook,” Lunde said. “But the one that really made me want to get a Pinterest account was a series of about thirty pictures of a boy with Down syndrome and his sister. They held up notes saying that he was just as normal as everyone else.”

Lunde’s boards consist of quotes, music lyrics, anything Harry Potter related, and his own pictures of his recent semester abroad in Spain.

Being able to organize and share with others the things that you love is one of the things that sets Pinterest apart from other social media websites and because of this, Pinterest’s users will continue to grow at a rapid pace.

“If anyone wants to join,” Lunde said, “you’re just an invite away.”

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