Have you heard or read about Pinterest yet?
I had seen mentions of it in several places, and was intrigued enough to check it out the other day. When I finally saw it, I thought Wow, this just may turn out to be the answer to a burgeoning problem in my life!
My problem: I’m a browser window hoarder. Yes, I admit it. That, and Pinterest, are the first steps to recovery.
At any given time, I’ve got between 20-30 browser tabs open, usually things I’ve run across while surfing the web and want to refer to or read later. Luckily Firefox is good about saving all my tabs when I close out, so I rarely lose them. But the assortment is unwieldy to navigate and can take a long time to load. Any videos in the group always start playing again when the page reloads, so a sudden cacaphony of sounds usually results.
Bookmarks don’t really do the trick for me — I already have hundreds sorted into dozens of folders, and can never seem to find what I want when I need it.
So what is Pinterest, and why is it so appealing? It’s a website (yes, a social media site) for curating (and you know that’s all the rage, right?), categorizing, and sharing items of visual interest found on the web. In other words, a cloud-based filing system for all those “save for later” photos and ideas I come across on the web. I know that web curation apps have been around for awhile, but I guess none of them ever “clicked” as being particularly useful for me before.
Here’s a brief description from Pinterest’s About page:
Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
There is a “Pin It” button you can add to your bookmark toolbar that let’s you click on any web image and save it to one of your “boards”:
Once installed in your browser, the “Pin It” button lets you grab an image from any website* and add it to one of your pinboards. When you pin from a website, we automatically grab the source link so we can credit the original creator.
It saves the original web link along with the image! Hooray!! You can even pin videos.
[* I have to note here that it’s not quite accurate to say that you can grab ANY image from any website. It seems that the images have to be of a certain minimum size, and if the image is only visible in a flash or pop-up window, you’re out of luck.]
Most of my work is accomplished via digital collaboration, so my clients send me links to products, textures, and furnishings they find on the web that they want me to use in the renderings I’m doing for them, or use images to explain how they want their home to look. And I usually end up with all of those various browser windows open as I work on the project. So as soon as I saw Pinterest, I realized it could be a very useful resource for me to collect all the web pages and images related to a single project into one convenient location for reference. And the clients and I could both contribute to it and “pin” images to the “design board” (I haven’t yet figured out how to share a board with only certain people, however — right now it’s either private to me or shared with everyone).
To try out this new idea, I created a mock “design board” with a collection of web resources used in a recent project, a bedroom remodel. You can see the actual board on Pinterest here, or here’s a screenshot of it:
Sample Pinterest Board
These were all items the client had found on the web and wanted me to incorporate into the model and rendering I was doing for her. And here’s the final rendering of the bedroom remodel, where you can see all these lovely items in action:
Final rendering — Lower Level Bedroom Remodel
So I have to say — Pinterest really does seem promising as an answer to my “browser window hoarding” problem, and as a useful tool for collaborating with my clients to collect project resources in one easily-accessible location.
And in case you’re wondering whether Pinterest is a giant time suck like most other social media sites — sure it is. Big time. But for a visual junkie like me, it’s a deliciously decadent treat to browse through all the fascinating and beautiful things that other people have found “pin-worthy.” Visual voyeurism at its finest.
So what do you think about Pinterest? Does it sound like something that you would find interesting or useful?
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