By Cara Winkley
One step inside the red rustic barn and a warm glow hits your face. Strings of lights wrap around a white cloth canopy covering the ceiling creating a soft romantic atmosphere for guests strolling into the reception. Wooden tables are surrounded by twelve wooden chairs and are marked by numbers carved into a coaster-size cut wooden log laid out on the table. Blush pink flowers are placed in each corner of the room complimenting the soft lavender colors of the bridesmaid dresses as the bridal party walks across the barn taking their seats to eagerly await the newlyweds.
Valerie Whited, a recently engaged student at the University of Arkansas, started using Pinterest about two years ago. Like many girls, before her engagement, Whited had a dream wedding board where she pinned ideas for her future. Now, it has become a practical part in the planning stage of her wedding.
“It’s a fun tool to come up with ideas,” said Whited. “It is productive and inspirational.”
According to the Pinterest website, Pinterest was created in 2010 as a tool for collecting and organizing the things that inspire you. It is an online pin-board where users share ideas by “pinning” photos of anything from fashion and crafts to teaching methods and resume tips. Only a year and a half after launching Pinterest, it became one of the top ten social network services with eleven million weekly visits.
Despite the quick rise in popularity, Whited had her doubts about the website before she joined. She first heard about Pinterest from friends talking about it on other social media outlets. At first she disliked it because she thought it was materialistic and was just a way for girls to fantasize over things they want, but realistically will probably never have. After giving it a try, she thinks it is a great way to express yourself as an adult.
“It’s all about finding your personal style,” Whited said.
Pinterest is not only for personal use, but businesses can also benefit from creating a company account. Companies can upload pictures of products using different SEO words and hashtags to market and promote their merchandise or services. Businesses are able to view their web analytics and see how much traffic each pin gets. According to Bizrate Insights, a company that conducts customer surveys, 70 percent of online consumers use Pinterest to get inspiration on what to buy. In addition, 39 percent use Pinterest for special offers and coupons from retailers and brands they have pinned.
While Businesses and individuals can benefit from everything Pinterest has to offer, teachers are also benefitting from this social media god-send.
Ariel Puccetti, a recent University of Kansas graduate and current elementary teacher, has been using Pinterest for a little over two years. As a teacher, she uses Pinterest to find supplemental materials for centers, extra practice or creative projects. Teachers are able to share ideas on different teaching methods and classroom decorations through Pinterest.
“It is a great place to go to gather information and ideas from other teachers and from a variety of sites to incorporate creative and engaging activities in a classroom,” Puccetti said.
Though Pinterest offers many diverse pins relating to women and men, only 30 percent of Pinterest users are male. In 2012 alone, 1,255,225,000 minutes were spent on the Pinterest website from a computer, 720,973,000 on the Pinterest App and 120,486,000 on mobile web.
“It’s no wonder I’m always thinking, I know I pinned that somewhere,” Puccetti said.
Here’s a how-to Pinterest craft: