If you want to be a part of the most current Internet craze, you will find yourself on Pinterest, a new social media site. The Pinterest site has grown dramatically, from 418,000 U.S. unique visitors in May 2011 to more than 15 million in just a few months.

Created just over two years ago, Pinterest has become one of the most popular and most addictive social media websites. That’s because it’s social media with a twist. While Facebook and Twitter and reliant on the text that you enter as you use the site, Pinterest is focused on pictures. It is an online pin board where users can post or “pin” pictures. On Pinterest, pinning pictures is extremely easy. You can grab them from any website or upload your own.

Once you sign up for a free account you can easily create boards, which are the categories where you will place your pins. Pinterest starts you off with several boards including: Products I Love, Favorite Places & Spaces, Books Worth Reading, My Style, and For the Home. These can be deleted, renamed, or added to. The beauty of Pinterest is that it is very visual and very intuitive. You don’t need a PHD to figure it out. You simply sign up and start using it.

You can add to any of your boards as often as you like. You can follow the boards of others for ideas and inspiration, and you can “like” the photos of others or “repin” them to your own boards.

Pinterest is attracting users who want to explore a special love and/or interest. This includes most of us, which is why it is so popular. People have created boards that cover just about every interest you can think. I found pins about wardrobe, home décor, food, cool things for kids, crafts, hobbies, music, space, sports teams, and more. The pictures that people pin are amazingly good. You can waste a lot of time, just looking through them, but then perhaps it’s not a waste of time since many pins give you great ideas and some are quite inspiring.

You will also find some unusual Pinterest boards. A friend of mine has a board called, “Dress me Please! I’m almost 6’ tall.”  In this board she has pinned pictures of shoes and clothing that she found suitable for her. She also posts pictures of clothing she likes that doesn’t come in her size.

I’ve found everything on Pinterest from pictures of tattooed bananas to animal pocket knives to ice crystals in clouds. Pinterest also has a search feature that you can use to find whatever you are interested in. For instance, a search for “spoons” yielded hundreds of colorful pictures of spoons including hand-painted spoons, and spoons made in coat hooks, picture frames, and jewelry.

When you pin a picture from the web to Pinterest, the link to the picture goes with the Pin, so if you see something you like, you can go directly to the source to look through other things on the original website or to purchase something. These links are quite valuable, both to the websites and to the users. Websites, especially retailers, love them because they get referral customers. Users love them because they can go right to the source without a lot of hassle.  

Right now, Pinterest is still “invite only,” but you can request an invite on the site (www.pinterest.com) and expect a pretty quick turnaround for access. I got my invite within hours. You can also login using your Facebook or Twitter account for instant access.

Every time I visit Pinterest, I am amazed by how visually appealing the pictures are, and how imaginative the folks who pin then are. I am totally addicted to Pinterest. It offers an elegant interface and allows the content and the users to shine.