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Personal Technology Resource Center


How Pinterest Works

Learn how to bookmark links, and collect information and images with this fun technology

En español | Editor’s Note: AARP TEK stands for technology, education, and knowledge. TEK helps people 50-plus who want plain language and user-friendly information on how to best use personal technology.   The free program provides comprehensive online and in-person technology tips, trends, tools and hands-on lessons.

Remember back when you would painstakingly add backgrounds and photos and clippings from magazines and newspapers to a bulletin board to show off what mattered most to you? The website Pinterest offers a similar experience, but you don’t need a collection of thumbtacks to get the job done.

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Ian Cunningham

Jen Lee Reeves is AARP's social media trainer.

Pinterest is a cyber bulletin board that allows you to collect and share website links and uploaded images that help you tell stories, collect information or just collaborate with friends.

See also: Step-by-step guide on how to join Pinterest (PDF)

If you have a family member who is getting married, family planners can share Pinterest boards to collect ideas on decorations, dresses and gifts. I actually encouraged friends to look through different hair styles on Pinterest to help me decide what to do before a hair appointment.

It could be a link to something that is so funny, you want to read it again and again on days when you’re feeling down. Pinterest can be a space where you collect those thoughts and images so you can find them another time. Plus, the collection is arranged in a way that’s really enjoyable to look at — just like a real bulletin board.

The options are endless.

Another way many people use Pinterest is to keep track of links they don’t want to lose.

It can be links full of professional information like the amazing collection from nonprofit consultant Beth Kanter. Pinterest is also often used to keep track of recipes and home design. Those are big topics inside Pinterest because a “pin” on your cyber bulletin board always comes with an image.

Not long ago, I was a professor at the University of Missouri. Every once in a while, I’d meet with professors who worked in all types of departments to share how I used social media in the classroom. One of the most interesting trends I saw from professors was how many people would collect links in documents. They would have to find the correct document, copy the link and paste it into a browser to read that link again. Pinterest removes some of those steps. You can create a topic board (think of it as a folder) and add pins (or links) to collect all kinds of ideas into one place.

If you want to share a link that does not have an image on Pinterest, you have to upload your own photo and then leave the link in the comments.

Spend some time on the AARP TEK social media page to learn more about how to jump into Pinterest and use it to collect ideas and images for future use.