Watch out, Facebook; you've got new competition.
According to money.cnn.com, social-media site Pinterest.com is now driving more referral traffic on the Web than Google+, YouTube, Reddit and LinkedIn combined.
Started in 2009, the website is a virtual bulletin board where users display and share photos on subjects ranging from do-it-yourself crafts to food dishes to art.
"It's exciting to see a relative newcomer growing so quickly in the Web space," reported money.cnn.com. "While the Web's more established companies are quite powerful these days, the fact that a startup like Pinterest has successfully established its own foothold shows that the competitive landscape is still alive and mainstream users are open to trying things from new players."
Among Pinterest's devoted users is Joe Jumper, owner of The Clay Pot, a floral/gift shop in Riverview. The way it works, he explained, is that when someone signs up, they create a "board." The member can then "pin" (post) photographs of things they are interested in on their board as well as pin photographs from other members' boards.
Jumper said not only has the website been an avenue to share his creative ideas but also a source for getting new ones.
"Pinterest is definitely the new fun craze," said Jumper, who learned about the website late last year. "In my business, it is so helpful. I can ask my brides to create a page, pin wedding items they like and the style they want. I become a follower, and it's an easy way for them to express what they want."
Brides-to-be, for example, may pin photos of wedding cakes, decorations, flowers -- things they would like to incorporate into their own weddings.
A mother might post photos of her new baby's nursery to give other mothers ideas of how to decorate their own, he said.
Jumper, for example, recently had a client whose party theme was maps.
"I went to Pinterest, did a search for 'maps,' and all these photos involving maps popped up, giving me tons of ideas," he said.
Chattanooga businesswoman Lynn Chapman said she too has become a devoted fan of Pinterest.
"I joined because I received an invitation from a friend and went to check it out," she said. "I was skeptical at first because the last thing I needed was another social network to keep up with."
Chapman said she found herself spending a lot of time on the site.
"I think it's because it's all visual and easy to cruise through the things you are not really interested. But if something catches your eye you can click to a bigger picture and more information," she said.
Chapman is not only a fan, she has become a customer of some of the people who pin on Pinterest.
"I ordered a fabulous jewelry organizer that my niece had pinned to one of her boards," she said. "I was going to give it to her for her birthday but loved it so much I ended up keeping it."
But it's the ideas she has found on Pinterest that keeps her revisiting the site.
"I learned a new eyeliner technique where it goes under the eyelashes and not above; there are numerous recipe ideas I've tried, but the biggest is (that) I'm in the middle of a master-bath remodel from an idea I just happened to run across on Pinterest.
"I love having my own boards for a place to keep what I like, what inspires me, things I want to do or try," she said. "It's a compliment when someone repins my pins. It's fun to look through the boards of my fellow pinners and share something I like."
Local craft guru Maddie Kertay is also a fan of Pinterest.
"I use it on my blog so people can pin images easily from my blog," she said. "I maintain my own walls as a way to organize my ideas and plans for my own home and wardrobe."
Nancy Charlesworth said Pinterest has become a useful tool in planning her daughter's June wedding.
"I'm a visual person, so now I can see in one place what she would like to incorporate into her wedding and get a better understanding of what she wants," she said. "It's funny, we've pinned some of the same things and, at other times, different versions of the same things."
Charlesworth said the site is user-friendly.
"You can easily create boards and categorize the things you like or you can just click a 'like' button to create a folder for the things that you want to refer back to at a later date," she said. "You also can see creative ideas on different topics. Yummy recipes, gardening ideas, crafts ideas and do-it-yourself projects -- kind of a wish list or bucket list of things that you'd like to try."
Pinterest is a big bulletin board filled with ideas, Jumper said.
"I try to limit myself to spending just one hour a day on Pinterest," he said. "But I do know people who are on it all day. Beware. It's addicting."
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...