By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Karalee McDonald has been using Pinterest for about a year -- about as long as the social networking site has existed. She is one of thousands who have joined the new site and found new ideas for crafts, decorations, recipes and much more.
“I think Pinterest fulfills that little need in all of us to try new things,” McDonald said. “Do-it-yourself projects are popular, and I tell myself that if they can do it, so can I. And that pulls me right in.”
Pinterest is a new, picture-based social networking site that resembles a bulletin board. Items from recipes to recreations found on other websites are organized like index cards and attached to a user’s page.
The site enables users to “pin” things they like, which can then be shared among friends. Users share a wide range of things, including recipes, outfits, lifestyle tips, coupons, headlines and even custom-captioned photos of actor Ryan Gosling saying nauseatingly romantic things (usually beginning with the words, “Hey girl”).
Barbi Duke-Nay said she uses Pinterest for a multitude of functions.
“I find good ways to make cleaning supplies, low-fat and low-calorie recipes and fitness ideas,” she said. “I also use it for my bookmarks, news headlines, and I keep track of pictures such as the tornado ... It is an excellent resource for activities with children and learning tips I might not have thought of.”
A majority of the site’s users are women, but men are catching on.
“I’ve seen a lot of things that say something to the effect of, ‘Pinterest is for women, and once men start, they’ll ruin it,’” said Thomas Bartle, of Joplin. “I’ve noticed more men on these days.”
Bartle, 50, got started on Pinterest looking for recipe ideas. Now he and his wife browse the site for decoration ideas. Bartle also keeps inspirational quotes, destinations of places he wants to go and pictures of modern muscle cars, such as the new models of the Dodge Avenger and Ford Mustang.
He also has found things that help his career as a worker for Bridges of Missouri, an agency that assists developmentally disabled people with independent living.
“One of my clients needs organizational help,” Bartle said. “I’ve gotten a lot of good ideas from Pinterest to help.”
One of the things that makes Pinterest different, McDonald said, is that it inspires face-to-face interaction and real-world action.
When McDonald found out that several of her colleagues were also pinning things, she said they all had the same idea at once: “We really ought to have a party.”
For the last few months, Spiva Center for the Arts has hosted Pinterest Anonymous, a monthly party where users get together and make projects they find on the site. Past projects include glass etchings, felt scarves and button bracelets.
Having such a group of people inspires users to work on what they have pinned, McDonald said. The center is hosting monthly meetings for the group.
“We’re actually doing what we’re pinning,” McDonald said. “I think the fact that we’re dealing with actual projects makes it fun. We may see things, like them and pin them, but we may not be inspired to do them.”
The next Pinterest Anonymous will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the center. The session costs $20, which McDonald said is used to purchase materials to create projects. This month’s project is a French flowerpot.
Points about Pinterest
We asked our Facebook fans what they thought of Pinterest, and got the following replies: