Don't get Pinterest yet? It's ok

New social channels take time to penetrate. That's the point.

It was Dade Hayes, an SVP at Rubenstein Communications, who first mentioned Pinterest to me.

There I was, fresh from the launch of PRWeek's new Tumblr, enjoying a beer and the breeze from life on the cutting edge, only to be ungallantly returned to my familiar spot behind the curve. Thanks, friend.

As usual, once you hear a new word it suddenly appears everywhere. The entire globe, it seems, is conversant with Pinterest, even as I am fumbling with the virtual push pins. This piece in The Wall Street Journal's Small Business section nearly sent me over the edge, with its implication that this was a trend that had long been trickling down the enterprise food chain. Only I and a few mom-and-pop liquor stores haven't caught on yet.  

This piece on the relative habits of US and UK Pinterest aficionados was no comfort - at first. But a closer look at the infographic created by Visual.ly provided context, and insight. Many users in the USA have embraced a channel that aligns beautifully with their interests, such as crafts, gifts, and fashion. Sure, there are other subject areas taking hold, but there is a strong core of usage where it makes the most sense.

The visual nature of Pinterest has accelerated its popularity in areas where it clearly aligns. As more discover it, potential applications mushroom, leading to growth and applications beyond its original intent or design. The journey of discovery is the engine driving social. That's not just a byproduct, it's the way it actually works. And that's what makes it so powerful, so gorgeously democratic.

The problem is, today we all feel extraordinary pressure to stay on top of the new, so that we can deliver the best solutions to our companies and clients. That means we need great partners, and diverse talent, who are all engaging as professionals, and also as just people - learning by participating in the things they love to do.

Don't panic. Social media doesn't "run out". You don't have to stand in line to the first one with the new gadget. There are benefits to seeing things play out - and seeing the mistakes that others make by jumping into waters they don't fully understand.

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