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Opinion

Pinterest sweeps onto Internet as new social media sensation

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April 11, 2013

For about a year now, a trend has starting developing on the Internet, especially for high school and college females.

That trend is using the social networking site, Pinterest.

It is a website to share hobbies, interests, and other things someone may like with their friends, also known as “followers,” the people who can see their posts.

Many users have commented that even though it is a bit counterproductive and takes away focus from getting things done, Pinterest is a fun, relaxing, website that gets its users addicted in only the first few days that they use it.

The development for the social networking website began in December 2009, and finally the website was launched onto the Internet in March 2010. It started out as a website that was invitation only, similar to Google+. The founders tried to convince a New York magazine publishing company to buy Pinterest, but they declined the offer.

Ben Silbermann, one of the website’s co-founders, reached out to the website’s 5,000 users (at the time), providing his cell phone number to them and even meeting with some of them, collecting different input on the operations of the website. In less than a year, the website drastically increased to 10,000 users, despite the fact that Silbermann and other founders of Pinterest operated the website in an apartment until 2011.

When 2011 came, Pinterest’s popularity exploded. It was a commonly downloaded app on the iPhone starting in early 2011, and in August, the website was mentioned in Times Magazine as one of the “50 Best Websites of 2011.” In the same month, the Pinterest app was launched for the new iPad. Pinterest Mobile was released just a month later, making Pinterest available to non-iPhone users.

By December, according to Hitwise Data, Pinterest was among the top 10 most visited social networking sites, bringing in around 11 million visits per week. It started to attract more users than YouTube, LinkedIn (a social networking site for companies and employers) and Google+ (similar to Facebook).

In 2012, Pinterest reached 11.7 million users, most of whom are female. This milestone helped it surpass 10 million users faster than any other website in history.

In the same year, Pinterest updated its settings, including the terms of service and the ability to block or report a person for offensive activity. Experian Hitwise noted that by March 2012, Pinterest became the third largest social networking site, just after Facebook and Twitter. In August, users no longer had to request to join or get invited to join the website. Anyone can now sign up for free.

In the fall, I swore to myself that I would be an excellent student and avoid the Pinterest addiction at all costs. I watched my friends “pin,” images that represent different interests, hobbies, quotes, and favorites, and I was baffled at how this could be fun.

I did not have this intention for long, I joined Pinterest in December and have been addicted ever since. It seems like a silly concept, and it really is, but it is something to do on a particularly boring day.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.