Pinterest is a social curation website for sharing and categorizing images found online.
The site is described in its own content as a visual bookmarking site. Pinterest 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, among an almost endless list of other possibilities. 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 2016, the site had over 100 million users on a monthly basis.
Silbermann pitched Pinterest as a "catalog of ideas" rather than a social networking platform, maintaining that the emphasis is on empowering users to "go out and do that thing." Nevertheless, the site is one of the most popular social media websites. In January 2016, Alexa ranked Pinterest at #12 for most visited sites in the United States.