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What is Pinterest?

Posted By Noelle Pensec, Friday, October 4, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2013

With the social media explosion that’s been going on for the last few years, it’s no easy task to keep on top of all the newest web crazes. Most of you have probably heard of Pinterest, but maybe you aren’t too sure what really makes it special and sets it apart from the hundreds of other social networks. Not to mention all the fancy lingo that people tend to use when "in the know” about the site (pins? repins? boards? hashtags? followers?) it can all get a bit confusing.

So let’s get started with the basics. What is Pinterest? Pinterest is a social networking bookmarking site. Imagine a virtual pin-board of all of your favorite things. If you’ve ever delved into scrapbooking this might feel a little more familiar to you. Each registered user creates specialized boards where they can organize their pins into categories however they choose. Here’s the catch: Pinterest is an entirely visual experience, so all pins must contain an image of some kind. (This is a good thing!) Images can be pinned from any website, as well as uploaded from your own computer. When you post a pin, it shows up in your Home Feed, as well as that of your followers. The more followers you have, the further your posts will reach! The majority of Pinterest users (over 70 million worldwide) use the site to post anything from recipes, home decor, hobbies, crafts, fashion, or other inspirational content. Basically, you name it, it’s being posted to Pinterest.

To make things easier for those beginners out there, here’s a list of all the Pinterest "lingo”:

Pin - A pin is a post on Pinterest. Pins are images found anywhere on the internet or uploaded from a personal computer, with added text. When you see a pin from a website (the above image was uploaded directly) double-clicking the image will bring you directly to the source page.

Repin - Repins are basically the "share” function of Pinterest. When you see an interesting post from someone you’re following, you can repin it to one of your own boards. This will share the post with everyone that’s following you. Soon enough the post could go viral!

Like - Another option with interesting posts is to Like them. Posts that you Like on Pinterest will show up in a separate tab on your user profile, easy to access. Liked posts will not be re-posted to the home feed.

Hashtag - A #hashtag is a label which is used in many social media platforms for grouping and searching posts. On Pinterest it works as a quick search link. Some of the main hashtags used by the OPS Pinterest page are #Ophthalmology and #OphthalmicPhotography. These help our posts to become more visible and bring users back to our boards, and eventually, our website.

Board - Boards are sub-categories where you place your pins to keep them organized. In the above image (and of course when you visit you can see the many boards that are active on the OPS page.

Followers/Following - You can choose to follow a user which will automatically follow all of their boards. You can also choose to follow individual boards. Any pins posted to boards you are following will populate your home feed. When you pin something, this is of course published to anyone following you and/or your board.

Home feed - The home feed is where you will find all of the recent pins from users and boards that you are following. It is constantly updated as new content is pinned.

Click through - Any images pinned from web pages will direct you to the source page by double clicking on the pin. This is known as a "click through”.

So you may be wondering, where does the OPS fit in to all of this? The OPS has been building up a strong presence on Facebook, where we have a very successful page with over 850 viewers. While the Ophthalmology community on Pinterest isn’t as huge as, for instance, crafts or fashion, it is definitely out there, active, and growing. The content that is posted on the OPS Pinterest page is widespread and includes eye health information and news, general photography tips, science photography, as well as OPS specific news items, promotions, blog updates, articles, and of course, the best Ophthalmic images we have to offer.

With this outreach we are continually opening up new doors for our organization and our field. The page has been taking off since it was started earlier this year and only keeps growing. As we gain more followers and more users repin and like our pins, we will rank higher in the search function bringing more viewers back to our boards and in turn, the OPS website.

So how can you help the OPS Pinterest page? Check it out yourself! What we need most are active users liking and repinning our content so it looks "more important” to Pinterest’s search algorithms. This will help our content to get seen which will help us to reach the maximum amount of people, and promote the OPS message. Creating an account on Pinterest is easy and quick, and who knows, you may find yourself a new internet addiction! (Just kidding on that last part...haha) Another great way to help is to submit content to be pinned. What better way to help promote the OPS than by sharing our own amazing images! If you have any images or content in mind for any of our categories, please do not hesitate to email them to

Check out today!

Noelle Pensec

Editor, OPS Pinterest page

Member, Professional Development Committee

Noelle Pensec has been working as an Ophthalmic Photographer at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City for 3 years. She graduated in 2010 from Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biomedical Photographic Communications. Not much of a city girl, Noelle enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, biking, and breathing fresh air.

Tags:  blog  cute  education  funny  Ice Breakers  Interactive  Meaningful Use  Pinterest  Social Media 

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Comments on this post...

Barbara S. McCalley says...
Posted Friday, October 4, 2013
Thanks for explaining 'Pinterest'. I am subscribed and have 'pinned' quite a few things over the past several months, but your information will help me to utilize Pinterest in more ways.

Great explanations!
Barb McCalley
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Timothy J. Bennett CRA OCT-C says...
Posted Friday, October 4, 2013
+1 to Barb's comments. Nice job Noelle!
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Alan Frohlichstein says...
Posted Friday, November 15, 2013
Thank you. I have now tried Pinterest.

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