The Next Big Thing? :: Pinterest :: What Is It?

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IF you are a real estate professional using Pinterest, or have any tips or questions, please check-in via the comments. (Add links? Yes!)

What is Pinterest  ?!      pinterest-button-small-2.png         

A VISUAL tool ...  
trying to describe Pinterest is like trying to tell someone what a strawberry tastes like, just try it!
It may take just a bit to wrap your mind around it, but as soon you begin to use it, it becomes very easy, yet very powerful, as a visual tool for collecting, saving, storing, organizing, curating, sharing, and discovering stuff you see and like on the web.
You may or may not have heard of Pinterest.  If not, you soon will.  I just discovered Pinterest this week.. I'd been hearing (or reading) it mentioned for awhile, for a few months or so ... but never took the time to look into it, until this week, Wednesday. Now, It's only Friday, and I am so very impressed, and infected, I had to share this on ActiveRain! 
Pinterest users have skyrocketed from 50,000 (December 2010) to 1 million (in August 2011) to 12 million (in February, 2012.)  WOW!  It could be the next big thing?  Pinterest is growing a rate of more than a million new users per month... as of mid-February, 2012.  Not bad, for a start-up.  Pinterest is based in Palo Alto, CA.
  • "Nearly 6 out of 10 users are women aged 25 to 44," Mashable reports. So, it's not just for geeks, or high school & college students... unlike the beginnings of some other social networking tools. 
Why use Pinterest?                                                                              

I've been exploring Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous, Imgur, Opez, and other micro blogging, and simple sharing, social website tools, for personal and small business use, over the past year or two.  Choosing one new tool every few months to discover, experience, dissect, evaluate, and understand.  Finding the competitive advantages, disadvantages, and best uses for real estate agents, small local business professionals, or family photo sharing and social network use is my goal. 
Pinterest may be the newest, simplest, most elegant, yet powerful and useful tool of them all... for organizing and displaying and annotating and sharing visual things, visually. 

Yes, there are some themes for Tumblr that could make something a bit like Pinterest, but they are not nearly so easy and so powerful — Pinterest itself is going VIRAL, now.

OK, what is Pinterest, & how to use it?     pinterest-logo-600x150.png      
Pinterest is a new way to organize/ store/ post your bookmarks to web-pages, and to share them. Also, to discover stuff others like that are similar to your likes. Because of the social sharing, and the Likes, it becomes a tool that may also be used for marketing. 
A web-bookmark is now a Pin. A folder is a Board. Each web-page MUST have a noteworthy image: photo, diagram, video, etc. to use as a visual label. 
You can create your very own Pin-Boards, with your own topics, or titles, like labels on boxes or albums of photos. 
Then, you Pin things (using a photo as a key link) from any web-pageor your own image files, for photo sharing!
{Other users can browse your Boards, your Pins, and then like or re-pin them on their boards... Like shared, visual, Social Bookmarks.}
Click on a board to see its items, click on an item (aka Pin) to see more details, and then click on the pic to go to the original source, hopefully.  (If you don't get the source, you can always try to help find it.)
Each board has a subject category (from a list of about 30 or more built-in topics, such as: Architecture, Art, DIY-Crafts, Travel, Products, Men's Apparel, Women's Apparel, Science & Nature, or Other, etc....)
You assign your own titles to each of your boards, which you put it into one of those built-in categories.
Boards can be like Projects, Locale-Lists, Wish-Lists, Photo albums, Book-lists, Movie-lists, Topic-logs, Food/ Drink/Recipes, or an "electronic junk drawer" for a bunch of your favorite web links, indexed by a memorable thumbnail image from a web-page, each under a topic-title-heading that you make.  

Whatever you like, or want to put into a grouping, Pin-It!
You must also put a caption, or some brief notes (a few characters, a word, or up to a few hundred characters) under each Pin. Also, you can type @username to mention other users in the caption.  When you Re-Pin something you see on Pinterest that you like, you may use the old title from the last user, or enter your own, or edit/add to theirs. It's up to you. It's your pin. 
You can choose to share your PinBoards on your Facebook timeline (wall) or not. 
You can choose to share your Pins on your Twitter blog, or not.
When you sign up, Pinterest may use your Facebook or your Twitter profile picture, automatically.  You can change it later, if you want. The profile picture is also your thumbnail/ icon/ avatar image label. Pinterest joins you with your friends who are already on Pinterest, automatically.
How to Begin to Explore Pinterest?                                           
Start out by exploring two or three of your favorite categories, here is a partial list, click a few links: 
... those show you Pins which are indexed by the category assigned by users to their boards where they put the Pins

Or, to see what's popular, right now, on Pinterest:

.... also Popular Videos:

Or, check out what someone has pinned on their boards, to see how it's actually used:   (stats below are as of 2/15/2012.)
My daughter has made some Pinterest Boards:   

Here is the link to Amara's Pinterest (Pin-Boards)


Amara Fanucci

175 followers, 111 following
15 Boards · 325 Pins · 8 Likes

... and mine... which I just started this week


George Fanucci

2 followers25 following

14 Boards · 30 Pins · 7 Likes


... and one of the Pinterest founders:


Evan Sharp

810548 followers1173 following

95 Boards · 3100 Pins · 6837 Likes

... and the other Pinterest founder:



Ben Silbermann

883412 followers1377 following
70 Boards
 · 3769 Pins · 4208 Likes

Want to get started?                                                                    
You need an invitation to join Pinterest.  If you request one from Pinterest, there is a long waiting list.  If you are invited, you can get in as soon as you accept the invitation. Tip: Ask a friend to invite you. 
Your Pinterest LOGIN is your EMAIL address (or your USERNAME)  Usually, you choose your user name as your own name or your company name, for branding.  The URL for all your Pinterest Pinboards will contain your UserName, such as you can see above.  It must be unique among Pinterest users. 
You MUST link your Pinterest account with either your Facebook or your Twitter account.  They are trying to make sure that only REAL people are enrolling, and to facilitate sharing outside of Pinterest, to bring in more new and returning users. 
For a business, you can use your logo as your avatar/ icon/ profile pic.  Profile pics are from about 100x100 px to about 180 x 240 px (scaled) ???   Pinterest seems to use the top part as a small square icon-avatar-image-tag for your posts.
Lastly, you need to install the Pin-It bookmarklet into your web-browser bookmarks bar ... the magic button that will Pin a web-page onto one of your Pin-Boards with any large-enough image from the page, into your Pinterest account. 
W A R N I N G :  Pinterest can become very addicting...  

Also, be willing to explore outside your circle of friends and immediate interests. The danger in these social network sharing tools is we can become isolated (marooned?) unto our own small island, one we create for ourselves. Step outside your territory... 

Guideline: "Try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion."  So, you can make a board for each town or locale, or listing, and also make boards for your other personal interests.  Express anything you care about.

Pinterest = Home & Hearth, and therefore Real Estate?

Who uses Pinterest? — According to Experian Hitwise:
"Boomers and Boomerangs are the group most likely to visit, particularly the Pinterest website (comprising over 10% of visits). This group of consumers is characterized as baby boomers and young adults who are heavy web users who spend time on house and garden, sports and fitness, and family-oriented websites. This information is useful to companies who wish to target their content to be “pinned” by Pinterest users."

So, it looks like prospective Buyers and Sellers, especially during DIY, leisure, or hobby time, will be on Pinterest?
How will it evolve?  How would curators be monetized?  Will there be advertising opportunities?  Time will tell.
Reports from retail sector indicates more hits from Pinterest than from some of the big guys... Check the links below.
What could go "viral" on Pinterest?   Anything with a high visual appeal.
Read more about Pinterest Logo ... 

Pinterest Etiquette  <== Official tips
How to Use Pinterest for Your Small Business  <== link to Intuit's Small Business Blog
::  See also, PINTEREST statistics (click the pic below, a link to hitwise)  ::


Share and Enjoy!  If you want an invite, let me know. 


Found these after writing the above.  Good links about Pinterest, How-to, and Real Estate Marketing... 


 Brad Andersohn : ActiveBrad "Z" Blog : Posted on 02/12/2012

Pinterest - A Social Cataloging Community - A good visual summary, and good comments... lots of discussion.

Please leave a comment here, before you rush over there! Thanks... 


Helpful stuff for Pinterest beginners:



San Jose Mercury News, 2012.03.03, front page news:

San Jose Mercury News 2012.03.03 front page news


... more to come ... please check back ...  and see comments below, subscribe ...  


Found on Pinterest:

From lifehacker.   



  George Fanucci   

Newly hooked on Pinterest!





Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor® 02/16/2012 09:34 AM
Real Estate Technology & Tools
California Santa Clara County Palo Alto Stanford
Tech Corner
Real Estate Technology
Tech Tool Realtor Review
internet marketing
social networks

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Annette Smith
Allen Real Estate Services, Inc. - Sarasota, FL
Sarasota Real Estate Agent

Hi George -- I just signed up, and I am still trying to wrap my mind around this.  Good post!

Feb 16, 2012 01:16 AM #1
George Fanucci - Los Altos, CA
Internet - Technology - Business - Solutions

Arnette, Thanks for checking-in.  Please come back with your initial report, or any questions?

See also:

Real Estate Marketing with Pinterest?  by VINNY LABARBERA

Which I just found.

This just in: Pinterest for Businesses and Brands

Helpful stuff for Pinterest beginners:

... more to come!

... please check back, 

...  see comments below, subscribe (below the pic near the top, in the right sidebar.)

...  join the conversation, leave your comments

Feb 16, 2012 02:48 AM #2
Bryan Robertson
Intero Real Estate - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

Hi George,

I'll check it out.  Could you send an invitation?  I'll follow the link above as well to see how it might be useful for real estate marketing.

Feb 16, 2012 05:47 AM #3
George Fanucci - Los Altos, CA
Internet - Technology - Business - Solutions

Hi Bryan,

Invite Your Friends to Pinterest   Invite Sent!

I think the best use may be for high-end or visually stuning photos. Or, presenting a tour of a neighborhood, or a community project, or your Proof-of-Production Sold listings, or current listings... as an online showcase - portfolio... Just my initial ideas...

There are a few issues lurking in the background... such as copyright, and monetization. For now, it's well backed by VC, and is really taking off, going viral! I read somewhere, can't remember now, of a spokesperson quioted as saying there are about 1,000 blog articles written per day about using Pinterest! (Perhaps anecdotal?) There are 14 employees, all in the development team, somewhere in Palo Alto.


Feb 16, 2012 05:53 AM #4

Geroge, This ia a very comprehensive article. Thank you for putting it all together!

Pintrest feels faddish to me. It's like the magazines you read at the hairdresser, or the dentist's office. And, does it really matter who likes/reblogs/etc., given all of the screen space allocated to that? I doubt it.

For now, it's promising, especially for certain kinds of posts, like stuff you can buy in stores.

Feb 16, 2012 06:03 AM #5
George Fanucci - Los Altos, CA
Internet - Technology - Business - Solutions

Even if just for personal use, or to be shared among small groups... Pinterest appears very useful.  However, think about putting something like virtual tour photos into a Pinterest board, and then posting it in a CraigsList property listing...

✔ Grow Your Sphere-of-Influence with Pinterest!  

New Internet lead-capture opportunities, potentially? 

You would also have an opportunity to connect via Facebook (or Twitter) if a prospect emailed you asking for an invite to Pinterest... maybe? See who likes and follows — not only in Palo Alto and here in Silicon Valley — the charts in the EXPERIAN-HITWISE-PINTEREST article show it's going viral in many unexpected places... Tennessee, Utah, Alabama... quite amazing!

Pinterest looks very good, visually, and is very easy to use once you "get the paradigms and metaphors" of the U/I... and it's getting some amazing results in retail.

For Real Estate professionals, Pinterest could have a place in your internet presence, and help you grow your sphere on a local community or referral basis.

IF you are not using Twitter, then you still may have a use for Pinterest, as a real estate professional... 

Feb 16, 2012 06:19 AM #6
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Hi George, Bookmarked and I will check into Pinterest over the weekend.

Feb 16, 2012 09:28 AM #7
Deb Rice

Thanks for the link. 

Feb 16, 2012 02:14 PM #8
Larry Atkins
State Wide Realty Co. - Farmville, VA

I'm not a member of PinInterest yet but it sounds interesting. I'm going to bookmark this so that I can take advantage of these great ideas when I get started. Excellent Post....I've been hearing about this but didn't know much myself, thanks for the info.

Feb 17, 2012 12:44 AM #9
George Fanucci - Los Altos, CA
Internet - Technology - Business - Solutions

Rebecca — Thanks for your comments, and the REBLOG!  I am a new subscriber to your blog. BTW, you posted an excellent video on Beating Alzheimers disease

Deb — I am also following your blog.  Thanks for the comment, thanks for following me on Pinterest!

Larry  — Stay tuned here for more info on Pinterest. If you want an invite to Pinterest, let me know... otherwise, I have heard the waiting list is very, very long.  You need an invite to get in quickly, and you need to be on Facebook or Twitter for the invite to work.


Feb 17, 2012 01:04 AM #10
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville

I'm already exhausted. It sounds like I need to get with the program but the fear of spending too much time here is worrying.

Feb 18, 2012 10:59 AM #11
George Fanucci - Los Altos, CA
Internet - Technology - Business - Solutions

Ellie — That is the JOY of Pinterest.  It's so easy to setup, and easy to use.  It's very simple, yet powerful. The trick is getting your mind wrapped around this new tool, but the "paradigms and metaphors" are elegantly simple!  (When you do get it, it is just a click away...)

1.  Your Boards have Titles and are in Categories.

2.  Your Pins are like Links with an Image (from the source web-page) and any Notes (Captions) you care to make.  Your Pins exist in one of your Boards.

That's about it!  — I must confess, I had put it off for weeks, but when I did get into it, I got hooked...  It's just what I had always wanted, but just didn't know it yet... 

Feb 19, 2012 04:34 AM #12
Susanna Haynie
CO-RE Group, LLC -Real estate sales and services - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realtor GRI CNE MCNE ePro MRP

I have been an avid Pinterest user for about 4 weeks and I agree it's addicting. But I beg my real estate friends and colleagues, to not just 'throw' your listings on Pinterest. People will quickly unfollow you. Pinterest is very visual a BLAH or MEH photo will not do it. Make it interesting via photo editing or displaying special features..... Just saying. Great article. did you see my Pinterest Pin of the Day?

Feb 21, 2012 11:31 PM #13
George Fanucci - Los Altos, CA
Internet - Technology - Business - Solutions

Susanna, Very good tip! What you're seeking is engagement with your local community. NOT free ads!


San Jose Mercury News, 2012.03.03, front page news... (see Updates above.)

Mar 03, 2012 02:34 AM #14
Tanja Cisliek
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL

George, how about all the hype about copy-right infringement? I don't have time to worry about trouble, is all the effort worth it?

Mar 17, 2012 06:26 AM #15
George Fanucci - Los Altos, CA
Internet - Technology - Business - Solutions
Yes, there has been a lot of discussion in the past month about Pinterest and copyright. Pinterest CEO has recenttly addressed this, here is a link to Washington Post article. Fair use doctrine and linking back to original sources are key.
Mar 17, 2012 12:21 PM #16
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