Objects of Desire: Pinterest

  • Photo by Jodi Miller
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From the February 23, 2012 edition

Pinterest posts can get weird. The website lets users make online versions of inspiration boards, so discovering that multiple people in the world find a pizza-shaped sleeping bag “adorable” isn’t that shocking. To each their own annoying pin.

The beauty of the site — beyond photography that can make even a pizza sleeping bag look good — is that once users have created their own pages, they can pick the pinners they want to follow.

Giving users the power to curate (and feel like they’ve done something creative) in two clicks has made Pinterest an internet darling.

According to site analytics service Compete.com, more than 11 million unique visitors checked out Pinterest in January, up more than 3 million from the month before. A study by data analysis company RJMetrics reported that Pinterest is “retaining and engaging users as much as two to three times as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in its history.”

That kind of reach has Columbus companies taking notice. Experience Columbus, Virtue Salon & Barber Shop, Aesthetic Interiors and Team Chipmunk are just some that have Pinterest pages.

“I’m just searching the web in my own funny research process, and pinning things that I find compelling or beautiful,” said Elizabeth Bourgeois, owner of upcycled children’s clothing line Team Chipmunk. “The coolest thing about Pinterest so far is that now I’m sharing [that process] with a kinetic global audience who gives me instant feedback … It’s pretty amazing to see a photo of a dress or color palette get a dozen repins within seconds of my pin. Some images that I pin get no response whatsoever, which won’t make me throw them out, but it definitely helps me see what my customers want.”

Users see what others like and want to wear/ do/ eat/ create in real time. Some trends I’ve noticed via Pinterest: Arrows are the new anchors, mint green is the new black, braids are the new headband. (It’s also responsible for inspiring my new bathroom wall art, pictured.)

“It seems to be a great place to communicate with other visual thinkers, track trends here and abroad, and bump into like-minded artists,” Bourgeois said. 

And if things start to get weird, just unfollow.