Pinterest is a web and mobile application company that offers a visual discovery, collection, sharing, and storage tool. Users create and share the collections of visual bookmarks (boards). Boards are created through a user selecting an item, page, website, etc. and pinning it to an existing or newly created board. Users save and share pins from multiple resources onto boards based on a plethora of criteria, e.g., similar characteristics, a theme, birthday parties, planning a vacation, writing a book, interior decorating, holidays. Boards can develop projects, organize events, or save pictures and data together.
The site was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. It is managed by Cold Brew Labs and funded by a small group of entrepreneurs and investors.
Pinterest is a free website, which requires registration to use. Users can upload, save, sort, and manage images - known as pins - and other media content (e.g., videos and images) through collections known as pinboards. Pinterest acts as a personalized media platform. Users can browse the content of others on the main page. Users can then save individual pins to one of their own boards using the "Pin It" button, with Pinboards typically organized by a central topic or theme. Users can personalize their experience with Pinterest by pinning items, creating boards, and interacting with other members. By doing so, the users "pin feed" displays unique, personalized results.
Content can also be found outside of Pinterest and similarly uploaded to a board via the "Pin It" button, which can be downloaded to the bookmark bar on a web browser, or be implemented by a webmaster directly on the website. They also have the option of sending a pin to other Pinterest users and email accounts through the "Send" button. Some websites include red and white "pin it" buttons on items, which allow Pinterest users to pin them directly.
Initially, there were several ways to register a new Pinterest account. Potential users could either receive an invitation from an already registered friend, or they could request an invitation directly from the Pinterest website that could take some time to receive. An account can also be created and accessed by linking Pinterest to a Facebook or Twitter profile. When a user re-posts or re-pins an image to their own board, they have the option of notifying their Facebook and Twitter followers; this feature can be managed on the settings page.
On the main Pinterest page, a "pin feed" appears, displaying the chronological activity from the Pinterest boards that a user follows. When browsing for new boards and relevant pins, users can visit a "Tastemakers" page that recommend pinboards with content similar to previous pins saved by a user. For both guests and Pinterest users, there are currently four main sections to browse: everything, videos, popular, and gifts.
Quick links to Pinterest include the "pin it" button that can be added to the bookmark bar of a web browser, "Follow me" and "Pin it" buttons added to personal website or blog page, and the Pinterest iPhone application available through the App Store.
Users should be aware of certain terms and functions when using Pinterest. A "board" is where the user's pins are located. Users can have several boards for various items such as quotes, travel or, most popularly, weddings. A "pin" is an image that has either been uploaded or linked from a website. Once users create boards and add pins, other users can now repin, meaning they can pin one user's image to their board as well. Once the user has set up their account and boards, they can browse, comment, and like other pins. If a user wants to turn an image online into a "pin," there are a few simple steps to do so. First, the user must select the image to pin. Second, the user then clicks on the "Add +" button on Pinterest. Third, the user enters an image URL into the link box. Next, the user selects the exact image they want to pin, and place it on the designated board. Users can then describe the pin and share it via Twitter or Facebook. Other users can now click on the pin to see which board the image is pinned in, who pinned the image previously, where the original pin is from, and who has liked, commented, or repinned the image. Pinterest has also added the option of making boards "secret" so that the user can pin to and view boards that only the user can see when logged into their own account. People normally post "selfies" and things they have made. A user can find friends by using his or her Facebook and Twitter accounts. This allows for an easy flow of information through varying infrastructures.
The website has proven especially popular among women. According to Nielsen, in 2012 the U.S. female audience of Pinterest accessing the website through the computer was 70%. The average Pinterest user spent about 90 minutes per month on the website in 2012. The most popular categories on Pinterest are food & drink, DIY & crafts, women's apparel, home decor, and travel.
Users should also keep in mind that Pinterest stores actual copies (not just thumbnails and links) of the images being pinned. This has caused controversy with regards to copyright issues for photographers. The technical underpinnings of Pinterest are not unique: Pinterest uses Amazon S3 cloud storage (running at large datacenters) and data deduplication.