How to Use Pinterest

Since opening its doors with a small beta test in 2010, Pinterest has claimed a spot as the third most popular social networking Web site behind Facebook and Twitter. The site encourages self-expression through sharing and collecting online pictures, which can then be placed on personalized "pin boards" for home decor ideas, recipes, wedding planning or whatever else the user is interested in. There are almost as many uses for Pinterest as there are users, and getting started can be as simple as the click of a button.

How to get started on Pinterest

Pinterest is an invite-only service, which means you need to get an email invitation from someone who already has an account. Chances are, you already know someone who is on Pinterest, so be sure to ask around. If not, try an online forum that you frequent or even the Pinterest fan page on Facebook, where you might find users who have extra invitations they would be willing to share. Never post your email address publicly-instead, ask that anyone who has an invitation to share send you a private message.

When you have an invitation, you'll be given three options for registering. You can use your Facebook or Twitter account, or you can sign up using your email address. The Facebook and Twitter options are easiest, because they instantly plug in your information from those sites, including your user picture. If you sign up using your email address, you will have to type in your own profile information and upload your own user picture, if you want one.

The final thing you'll want to do before you start pinning is install the "Pin It" link to your browser's bookmarks. This allows you to "pin" any picture you come across while online to one of your boards.

Boards and pinning

Now you're ready to start creating boards and pinning.

A board is a collection of pins that can have any theme that you want. You can have boards for animal pictures, fashion, nature photography or wedding ideas. If it exists, you can have a board for it.

To add a board to your account, select Add at the top of the screen, and then Add a Board. You can then create a title and a description for that board.

You can also click Edit while you have a board open to edit the title or description of the board.

The next step is to start pinning things that you like. You can browse other people's pins on Pinterest and repin them, use the Pin It bookmark to pin pictures from other sites, or click Add and then Add Pin on the homepage to add a pin.

Interacting with other users

When browsing other users' pins on Pinterest, you can easily repin them, Heart or Like the posts, or leave a comment.

"Following" other users or specific boards is also possible, and any new pins they upload will show up on your Pinterest homepage in real time. Simply click Follow All when on a profile page, or Follow while on a specific pin board.

The unique user interface of Pinterest makes it a fun and easy way to post and collect pictures for a variety of different reasons. For more information on how to use Pinterest, visit the official Web site for a thorough and informative Help section.

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