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The History of Pinterest – How One Man Turned His Passion into Social Networking Site

The History of Pinterest

While recently perusing status updates from friends and family members on Facebook, I realized that my wife hadn’t signed in for the past four days. When I asked her what she’d been doing with all her online time instead, she said she’d joined this fun new site called Pinterest. And apparently she had something to say to the other social networks; in a fairly good impression of Donald Trump she declared, “They’re fired!” As a scrapbook enthusiast, she’s always looking for online inspiration to enhance both her digital and static books of family memories, and Pinterest seemed the perfect source for that.

Having never heard of the site, I quickly put my internet researching skills to use. In the process I learned that Pinterest is really high in demand right now, and not just by housewives and teenage girls.

Businesses are using Pinterest to boost sales and encourage word-of-mouth advertising. For instance, one company offers access to a special percent-off coupon when one of their pins reaches a certain amount of shares. Sound confusing? I was confused at first, too.

From Bookmarks to Pinboards

As a child in Des Moines, Iowa during the mid-80s and early 1990s, Ben Silbermann loved to collect things. It was his passion. Whether it was a postage stamp steamed from a piece of mail or a unique insect that landed in the back yard, he was always adding something to one of his collections. In his mind, what a person collects says a lot about who they are, deep down inside. Here’s an overview of Silbermann’s career starting from his graduation from college until now.

What kept Silbermann going? His biggest reason for not giving up was fear of failure. He hated the idea of telling everyone who’d heard him sing the praises of Pinterest that it was not the huge success that they’d hoped. And besides, he thought, Google probably wouldn’t take him back a second time around. In his words, “They barely hired me the first time!”

Why Tweet When You Can Pin?

Pinterest was catching on with regularity by June 2011 and it now has more than 20 million users. It is one of the top social network sites, following behind Facebook and one other while coming in far ahead of professional sites like LinkedIn.

But it’s not just people like my wife who are pinning recipes and projects for holiday crafts. Businesses are catching on and pinning links to their websites as a way to showcase items, offer discounts, and a way to advertise their company without breaking their advertising budget. While the growth has been as stressful for Silbermann and his co-founders as it has been exciting, they’re only looking ahead.

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