Planning a wedding can be a dream come true. I was lucky enough to find the right person and was super excited to get engaged last July and begin planning our destination wedding. Being a busy real estate agent in Seattle and knowing no one in Maui, I was quickly overwhelmed by the process and realized that without a way to be organized about it, it was going to be a nightmare.
I started by purchasing a wedding planning book. (Yes, one of those 10 lb paper things) I didn’t have the time to read it, nor the desire to lug it around, so I hired a wedding planner. With so much distance between us, I needed a way to organize my ideas so that I could easily send to our planner for review. That’s when a friend turned me on to Pinterest, which turned out to be a life saver.
Pinterest could quite possibly be one of the greatest idea organization tools out there, and with skyrocketing traffic numbers, the 11M+ users that they recently recorded seem to agree.
With automatic information at our fingertips, I think everyone has a shorter attention span. Who wants to spend their time going back to a bunch of websites trying desperately to find that perfect idea you saw, but now can’t seem to find again? Instead, Pinterest allows you to “pin” any photo you see on the web to your own visual story board. Visiting your board and clicking the photo will return you to the website where you saw the idea initially. All of your ideas and websites are stored in one convenient place for quick reference.
You can create a visual story board for just about anything you want. They even have a handy “pin it” button you can download to your browser’s tool bar which enables you to easily “pin” any photo you find on the web to your boards. To make this even more efficient, there’s even an app for that.
At the start of my wedding planning, I was completely scattered. I was searching the web daily for inspiration and finding countless ideas, but had no way to organize my thoughts or remember all of the ideas I had seen. With Pinterest, I created a wedding board and began “pinning” my ideas from other sites to it. Seeing all of my ideas on one screen side-by-side was extremely useful. I was able to reevaluate my wedding board and delete items I no longer liked because I had pinned something better. When my planner asked for my ideas on décor or floral bouquets, I was able to send her my pins for quick reference.
The other beautiful thing about Pinterest is the ability to follow the pins of others. In true Twitter fashion, you can follow your friends to see what they are pinning and can even repin their ideas. If you don’t find your own friends all that inspirational, you can search by category to see what random strangers have pinned. In fact, this is where the bulk of my wedding ideas came from – other pinners on Pinterest.
I soon gave up on searching Google for inspiration and started searching Pinterest almost exclusively. In turn, when you pin something original that you found, it is totally fun to see how many people repin your ideas. You can even take a photo of something and upload your own unique pin. I’ve also started using Pinterest for non-wedding things like recipes, DIY, home improvement and holiday ideas.
Though Pinterest has a lot of useful features, there are of course a few quirks too. You can play around and look at things on Pinterest without an account, but to really involve yourself in the fun, you’ll need an invitation to join. You can request one from the site itself, but for most new users who attempt this, an invitation never arrives. You’ll get an invite almost instantly if a current user invites you, however.
If you are a current user, but aren’t logged in and you a see a pin of interest, clicking the “repin” button takes you only to the screen to request an invite. There is no login option present here. By the time you go back to the main page and log in, often the desired pin has disappeared from the page and has been replaced by a million new ones, making it difficult to find again. And while the iPhone app is useful, the photo-heavy site screams for an iPad app.
With the increase in traffic to the site, the speed has gotten quite slow. Downloading all of the photos in the background has made scrolling on this site difficult, and the screen will often freeze mid-scroll. There have also been rumors of copyright issues with the repinning of protected photos and some sites have begun to block Pinterest altogether.
It’s no secret that us ladies have dominated early usage of Pinterest, with estimates of anywhere from 58% to 97% women using the site. But they always say that women develop faster than men, and I don’t think the future of Pinterest is all wedding planning and cute shoes. It has plenty of uses for the male species as well. Pining over the latest gadget? Looking for a new set of wheels or trying to remember all of your favorite types of beer? Why not “pin” them to a board so you can drool over all of them side-by-side in your free time?
Pinterest is also undoubtedly a great way for businesses to promote their brand, particularly retailers. We’ve actually started using Pinterest at work as well, setting up boards of cool real estate porn we find around the web.
Would I have been able to plan my wedding without Pinterest? Sure, but it sure made my life easier and the wedding plans are taking shape quite nicely. If they can figure out how they are going to make money from the site, I think this is one social network that will be around for awhile. Give it a try, and I think you’ll be hooked. Ping me if you need an invite.