Pinterest is the latest darling of the social media world

Pinterest is the latest darling of the social media world. It has grown from a niche network to a behemoth in a matter of months, being the fastest standalone site in history to reach more than ten million monthly unique visitors. In fact, it is now so popular that agencies such as Experian Hitwise and have reported measurements to the effect that only Facebook and Tumblr have more social media time on site per user (420 minutes and 150 minutes respectively to Pinterest’s 98 minutes). It has grown over 40 times in the six months to the end of December 2011 and in February 2012, the site’s unique registrations were close to 18 million.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest’s success is based on the simplicity and popularity of‘sharing’, and in particular sharing images and photos. Sites are becoming increasingly visual over time, timelines and newsfeeds in Facebook are dominated by imagery, Instagram and Tumblr have created an entire generation of amateur photographers and even Flipboard turns news into an illustrative experience on the iPad.

Alongside this is the fact that as social networking grows, the concept of sharing has become increasingly simplified and requiring of less effort. At the outset, social networks were blogs which involved a commitment to regular blog writing and posting. Twitter and Facebook emerged allowing short, frequent status updates and micro-blogging. These sites went even further with the ‘Like’ and ‘Retweet' buttons and this concept is widely used among networks such as Tumblr, now one of the biggest blogging platforms, which is predominantly used for sharing photos and images, but ‘reblogging’ other posts is a key activity.

Finally, we see emerging topic-centric (as opposed to people-centric) sites and networks. Facebook and Twitter are based on personal profiles, news and recommendations, but newer networks are focusing on topics as the centre of the site’s universe. In the industry, this is becoming widely known as the ‘interest graph’ to complement the phenomenon of the ‘social graph’ which is the global mapping of all users and how they’re related. Pinterest essentially adheres to all these trends: it is a visual network, organised by topic, with a one-click sharing feature.
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