Pinterest is the newest social media service hit and one that has the potential to be very useful to visual artists. It’s currently available by invitation only, but you can request one at their homepage, or this article on Mashable offers a few other suggestions.
They’ve gone from 1.2 million users in August to over 4 million at this point. And that’s without being open to the public.
It’s a virtual “pin board” to which images are posted. You can create “boards” on any topic you wish, such as “Susan Fox’s Paintings” or “Outrageous Desserts” or whatever. Other members can comment on your pins and (and this is part of what makes it intriguing as an art marketing option) “re-pin” your image to one of their own boards, from which their followers can re-pin it and…..
It’s totally visual. It’s easy and non-technical to use, at least I think so. You can post prices, so it has potential as a selling site for art. (How to do so is included in a bonus feature that is part of the Mashable article linked to above). It could almost be a substitute for a website if all an artist wanted was a place to display lots of their work.
The interface is clean and attractive and shows off art nicely. Pins can also be re-posted on Twitter and Facebook. There’s a line of icons under your profile information that includes links to your website, Twitter, Facebook and an RSS feed.
It’s easy to pin to with a “Pin It” bookmarklet that sits in your browser Toolbar. It’s easy to upload images from one’s computer. It’s easy for people to “re-pin” or share what you’ve posted. My Mongolian bactrian camel painting was re-pinned within minutes after I posted it, so there’s potential for lots of eyeballs and for an image to go viral.
Here’s my “pin” page: http://pinterest.com/foxstudio/pins/ and here are my “boards”: http://pinterest.com/foxstudio/. I’m trying a variety of boards, hoping that if I have interesting images in a number of categories, it will draw people in to check out my art, too, and also become a follower. It was really easy to add new boards, rearrange their order and move images between them.
On the main site, there is already an “Art” category, also “Photography” and “Film, Music and Books” categories. You assign your boards to one of these pre-existing categories, but can easily change which one at any time.
If you want to find out more about how to use Pinterest and to see if it would be useful to you as an artist, Mashable has a handy beginner’s guide.
This is still a really new option and early artist adopters are going to have to feel their way to see how it can best be used. If you’re already on Pinterest, let me know what you think of it!