Pinterest is a social curation website for sharing and categorizing images found online. The site’s name is a portmanteau of the words “pin” and “interest.”
Pinterest categories include architecture, art, DIY and crafts, fashion, food and drink, home décor, science and travel. Users can add a “Pin it” button to their browser and then select and “pin” online images to virtual pinboards, which are used to organize categories. Pinterest requires brief descriptions but the main focus of the site is visual. Clicking on an image will take you to the original source, so, for example, if you click on a picture of a pair of shoes, you might be taken to a site where you can purchase them. An image of blueberry pancakes might take you to the recipe; a picture of a whimsical birdhouse might take you to the instructions. Users can browse or search for image content and can follow the boards of other users and can “like” or repin other users’ pins.
Pinterest was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. The Pinterest service launched as a closed beta in March 2010. Pinterest membership was initially by invitation-only but is now open to the general public. In 2011, TechCrunch selected Pinterest as the year’s top startup, and Time magazine named it as one of the top 50 websites of that year. As of January 2012, the site had 11.7 million users.