In fairness, I should start by saying that Pinterest and I have not gotten off to a good start. If I sound a bit sarcastic or even cranky over the next few paragraphs, it is because my first impression of the hot(ish) new social media site has been underwhelming.
On the off-chance it hasn’t crossed your radar yet, Pinterest is a kind of social media bulletin board. It’s used much more by women than men currently. Users post – or pin, as the site’s enthusiasts like to say – content from across the web on searchable pinboards. That’s an oversimplification of course, but that does seem to me to be the main gist of it. There is more detail on the site’s What is Pinterest? page.
Here’s the thing. After registering with the site yesterday afternoon, I received this message: “Hi!” I do so love emails that manage to work an exclamation point into the first three characters. It continued: “Thanks for joining the Pinterest waiting list…” The note went on to ensure me that an invitation will follow shortly and that in the meantime I can follow them on Twitter. Apparently Ben and the Pinterest team are excited to see me pinning soon. Exclamation point.
I really couldn’t believe my eyes. A waiting list? For a social media site with 10 million users? I emailed them for an explanation; that too is forthcoming. What I have learned is that you must either be invited by an existing user or you must ask Ben and the Pinterest team to invite you. There are a couple of theories out there as to why the site works this way. Either they’re growing faster than their server capacity will allow or they’re doing that annoying velvet rope thing commonly found outside busy nightclubs. Depends who you ask.
So no, not a good start.
Here’s the real question I’m interested in: Is Pinterest a good source of personal finance information? Because its content is user-generated, this is entirely up to the 10.4 million pinners in question. There already exist plenty of vehicles to search content on the economy. The question is; do Pinterest users post worthwhile links?
Prepare yourself for a colourful array of cartoons and inspiring quotes. It’s not all bad of course. I recognize a number of first-rate bloggers linked to there and a few good books. But the picking is pretty slim.
Business Insider has been tracking Pinterest’s impressive growth closely in recent weeks. On Monday, it posted a list of 10 must-follow pinboards. The list includes treehouses, cars, fashion and more. It all looks like good fun, but not much else. I suspect their enthusiasm for the site has more to do with the potential for a juicy initial public offering down the road than it does with good financial content.
Maybe I’ll check back after they invite me in.