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Why the Interest in Pinterest?

As a stereotypical Millennial, I am often approached by APQC's KM subject matter experts to provide “user opinions” on new social media tools. Within a span of four days I had two e-mails in my inbox from Cindy Hubert and Jim Lee inquiring as to how and why I use Pinterest. I was already an active user of the tool, but I had not stopped to think about why I was drawn to it or its implications for collaboration.

For those of you who have yet to make the leap and request an invite, Pinterest provides its members with the ability to "pin" appealing pictures to digital bulletin boards. Each pin acts as a link to the original source of the content. For example, a mouthwatering picture of Oreo and peanut butter mini pies serves as a handy link to the primary source: a recipe on a popular blog. The content of all boards can be searched and followed by anyone, but is most visible to a user’s followers.  

Cindy and Jim's questions were simple yet thought-provoking: "Why are people drawn to Pinterest? What makes it so appealing that users want to participate? How is collaborating on Pinterest different than collaborating in the workplace?" I couldn't answer their questions on the spot, but I have been mulling them over since.

While I don't think there is one right answer, for me, the reason for Pinterest’s success is that it’s painfully easy to use. Just as successful KM is embedded in the flow of employees' work, pinning on Pinterest boards is seamlessly integrated with Internet surfing. A 30-second plug-in download allows users to instantaneously affix interesting Web content directly to their boards via a small pop-up window. Users are able to participate and collaborate without leaving their current Web page or losing their train of thought.   

How do we take the principles of Pinterest and incorporate them into our KM initiatives? How do we make KM so painfully easy and seamlessly integrated that employees participate without even realizing it? Use the comments section below to share your ideas or discuss other implications of Pinterest for collaboration.