published Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Gerber: Interest in Pinterest growing

Lately, I keep getting emails saying someone has repinned my pin. Huh?

Turns out the emails are related to the Times Free Press’ new account on Pinterest, a site that CNN called the “breakout social network for 2012.”

If you haven’t visited Pinterest or haven’t had your pins repinned — yet — here’s how it works:

It’s a virtual bulletin board on which members post (or “pin”) things they find interesting and want to share.

Pinterest automatically matches images pinned to the site from which it was pulled, and members can repin something, like it or comment on it.

“Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love,” according to the site.

Harrison Keely, the social network guru of the Times Free Press newsroom, set up the newspaper’s Pinterest account.

The paper’s Pinterest page features a variety of boards, ranging from recipes to outdoor adventure spots to photojournalism and even Clay Bennett’s cartoons. Other boards feature fashion, health and fitness, weddings, music and home ideas. Readers can even contribute their favorite photos and links to the board.

On Pinterest, you can also find random items such as step-by-step instructions for cleaning your bathroom (I think I’ll pass), comments about TV shows ranging from “SpongeBob” to “Downton Abbey” and instructions on French braiding your hair.

I have to admit that Pinterest sounded to me like a massive time waster. Then I got online and checked it out and while, yes, I did waste, er, spend, some time there, I suddenly considered it useful rather than squandered time. (I have a 6-year-old daughter, so I really do need to know how to French braid hair).

Pinterest, launches in 2009, already has 11.7 million monthly active users, making it the fastest independent website to reach the 10 million mark of monthly unique visitors in the United States, according to technology blog TechCrunch.

The accolades have been numerous and fawning.

A recent study from Shareaholic showed that Pinterest drives more visitors to third-party websites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.

Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has joined Pinterest, according to media reports. His profile so far: three pins, one like, 1,176 followers, and he is following 125 Pinterest users.

The Times Free Press is one of only a handful of newspapers with Pinterest accounts.

Pinterest isn’t the newspaper’s first venture into social media. We also have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

The number of Times Free Press Facebook fans shot from 7,600 members in late 2010 to 24,048 now. We’ve surpassed other metro daily newspapers in the region.

The number of Twitter followers is also steadily climbing, and the newspaper recently started a Google+ account.

The newspaper uses social media to interact with readers and to hear from them. Every news tip, comment and “like” helps us determine what’s important to you.

To register for Pinterest, new users must receive an invitation from a friend already registered on Pinterest or request an invitation directly from the Pinterest website. Invitations directly from Pinterest may take a day or two to get.

Pinterest’s mission statement is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”

So stop by the Times Free Press Pinterest account and pin up the things you find interesting. Here’s how to find us in the social media world: Pinterest.com/timesfreepress, facebook.com/timesfreepress, Twitter.com/timesfreepress or timesfreepress.com/Google+.

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