Pinterest gets a reputation for being all about pinning pretty things and not getting much done. However, as active users could tell you, it's actually great for organising information, finding inspiration and getting real work done. Especially on creative projects. Here's how.
What Pinterest Is (and Isn't)
At its core, Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool. Sounds pretty boring, right? What's neat, however, is that it's not isolated in its own world. Unlike something like Evernote or Pocket, the site's users share their own pins and pin boards with each other. The result is creative cross-pollination. You can get inspiration for your own projects while other people draft off of — and build on — your ideas.
This makes Pinterest ideal for a number of use cases that don't fit with other tools like Evernote. Projects with a largely visual component, or that can benefit from creative input from outsiders, are prime candidates. Here are a few use cases where Pinterest could be better for a task than something else.
Test Case: Throwing a Bachelor Party
Your best friend's getting married (it seems like they all are these days), and you've been given the noble task of throwing the bachelor or bachelorette party. You're no schmuck, so you don't want to throw some lame, run-of-the-mill shindig. You want to throw a proper hootenanny, so you need some ideas. Pinterest can help.
Search for "bachelor party" on Pinterest and you'll come up with more than just advice to go to a strip club. Decorations, invitation designs, and plenty of activity ideas abound. Maybe some of your buddies will give you crap for using Pinterest to plan a bachelor party, but when you show up with a briefcase full of vodka, Red Bull, breath mints and cash that you never would have thought of on your own, they will forgive you.
Note: Some stuff on the tag pages above may contain slightly NSFW material. The links themselves are fine, but be careful if you want to explore further.
Test Case: Redecorating Your Home Office
We're big believers in the idea that your home office influences how you work. But, let's say you don't have any interior decorating design sense. Fire up Pinterest and search for "home office", (or "battlestations" like we have above, if you want to go all out). Right off the bat, you'll be hit with a lot of pictures of setups that people already have. If you see something you like here, you can grab it and save it to your own boards to refer back to later.
Of course, you could do this with a Google image search. Pinterest, however, suggests ways to refine your search based on different categories and existing tags. You may not know what that particular type of style that incorporates a lot of wood and pipes is called, but by browsing the "rustic" suggested tag, you'll figure it out quickly. Even if you don't find exactly what you're looking for, the suggestions are fantastic for finding new ideas you hadn't thought of before.
Test Case: Finding New Slow Cooker Recipes
Slow cookers are awesome. If you're like me, you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen for a decent meal, which makes a crockpot a favourite tool. When it's time to find a good recipe, Pinterest boards are one of the best ways to collect dishes in one place. Search for "slow cooker recipes" and you'll get some good ones right off the bat. But click "Boards" to see the real magic.
Because users can put together their own collections of pins, you can find boards like this one with a bunch of new recipes without dealing with redundant search results. The pin boards are more varied and can have much higher quality recipes because they're curated, rather than discovered via an algorithm and some search terms. Not only that, but by following a board, you can get notified of any new recipes that are added.
At the end of the day, Pinterest isn't any more of a time-wasting social network than Twitter. It has its purpose just like anything else. You can even use it in conjunction with the tools you already employ to get inspiration, stay organised, and make it easier to get your projects done. In fact, you can even use Pinterest's own extension to save things from outside the web to your own boards and collect inspiration in one place.