Kent State students take an interest in Pinterest

Graphics by Rachael Chillcott.

Matt North

Molly Sharrah, senior interior design major, sits in front of her computer at home, scrolling down as dozens of images of European architecture and decadent desserts travel across her screen. She clicks on an image of a double chocolate cake and is linked to a recipe on how to make it.

Sharrah is using Pinterest, the newest and fastest growing social media website today.

Pinterest allows users to “pin” images of their favorite things to their own organized boards, which other users can comment on. Users can also re-pin things from other’s boards on to their own boards.

“You never know what you’re going to find,” Sharrah said. “It makes it exciting in a way. The quality of the images are usually really great. It makes me want to explore boards in other categories that I normally wouldn’t even be interested in.”

The pinboards are sorted by 32 different categories like architecture, art, fashion and sports.

Sharrah said her favorite topics are design and food and drink.

“You can find the best recipes for desserts or a healthy snack,” Sharrah said.

Sharrah is one of many Kent State students who use Pinterest regularly to share their interests with others.

Amy Packard, junior nutrition and food major, said she also uses the website frequently.

“Honestly, it’s a great way to procrastinate,” Packard said. “I have something like 15 pinboards with pictures of what I want my house to look like, shoes I like and places I want to go.”

But Packard also suggests the website can be more than just a way for students to pass the time.

“There are definitely creative ways students could use Pinterest practically,” Packard said.

Dan Armagno, sophomore architecture major, uses the website to pin all sorts of architecture designs to help inspire his own work.

He has a board titled “inspiration” covered with images of crystal he uses as inspiration for one of his upcoming projects. Another board, “architecture,” is filled with images of modern feats of architecture, which he aspires to build one day.

“Pinterest gives me an easy, visually appealing place to organize all my ideas,” Armagno said. “My work has honestly gotten better since I’ve started using the site as a tool in my design process.”

Alison Stankiewicz, senior interior design major, uses her boards in a similar fashion, pinning designs that inspire her, along with pinning color palates to help her choose colors for her projects.

Pinterest launched in March 2010 and stayed relatively under the radar until late 2011 when it saw its weekly visits quickly jump from 500,000 to 11 million between June and December.

Research done by RJMetrics suggests the website’s ease of use and low involvement have contributed to its quick viral growth.

“When you tweet or post a Facebook status, you have to actually sit and think of something clever to say,” Stankiewicz said. “With Pinterest, all you need to do is a find an awesome picture and press pin it. It’s so easy.”

The website’s users are predominately female, with more than 80 percent of all traffic coming from female users, according to “she-conomy,” a marketing website geared toward women.

Recently though, an increasing number of 18 to 24 year olds have started using the website since its recent integration with Twitter and Facebook, which allows people to share pins to followers on those websites as well.

Jura Koncius, reporter for the Washington Post, who has written a few stories on Pinterest, is not surprised college students are taking such a liking to the upstart website.

“Pinterest appeals to a college audience for the same reason it appeals to anyone,” Koncius said. “It’s visual, easy, fun and free. It’s something a college student could sneak in during a boring lecture hall or waiting in line for bagels.”

Like Packard, Koncius said there are also practical uses for the website both in and out of the classroom.

“Social media is now a science, and one that is gaining momentum from 20-somethings,” Koncius said. “I’m sure there will be lots of applications for Pinterest in the classroom and in the workplace.”

Contact Matt North at [email protected].