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How Pinterest Works

How to Use Pinterest
Like all bulletin boards, you'll need some pins if you want to make your Pinterest board awesome and interesting.
Like all bulletin boards, you'll need some pins if you want to make your Pinterest board awesome and interesting.
Yagi Studio/Getty Images

Pinterest isn't just an application for memorializing cool stuff willy-nilly on a webpage. The platform comes with built-in structure in the form of boards, designated to help you organize your ideas. New accounts come with pre-named boards (such as Food, Art and Architecture, and Apparel and Accessories), which users can edit as they choose. If you don't see a category that appeals to you, you can also create a board from scratch [source: Pinterest].

Now that you have your boards set up, you can populate them with content in one of two ways: pinning and re-pinning.

  1. Pinning. So let's say you're surfing the Web and you come across a great pair of snowboarding boots that are perfect for your trip to the mountains this winter. Pinterest provides what's called a bookmarklet app (also called the Pin-It Button) to help you bring content from the furthest reaches of the Web and memorialize it on your board. Once installed in your browser, simply click it when you find something cool, then select the image that you want to show up on your board. Pinterest automatically records the link to the item, so anyone who clicks on it later is directed back to the original source [source: Pinterest]. The images on your pinboards are called pins.
  2. Re-pinning. When you re-pin something, you're adding an image you've already found on Pinterest to one of your own pinboards. For example, if your friend pinned a recipe for bacon-infused brownies that you can't pass up, simply roll your mouse over the photo. Click the "re-pin" button that appears, then choose the board you want to populate.

But Pinterest isn't just about aggregating content -- it also allows users to connect by commenting on one another's pins. This can range from fun and social ("I love those shoes!" "Awesome quote." "Where did you find that painting?") to incredibly useful ("I made this recipe last night and I recommend reducing the sugar."). Users can also like others' pins. You can access both of these functions by rolling your mouse over a pin. While likes and comments won't appear on your own page, it's still a good way to communicate with other users.

Now that you know how to use Pinterest, how does it really work? Read on to learn why Pinterest loves women, why women love Pinterest and how this free service makes its money.