In a manner of speaking, yes, but they do have a kind of twist to it that seems to be catching on.
The simple stuff first: you have a picture you like, you upload it to one of any number of “boards” you’ve created–you “pin” it there. Get it? Yeah. The (to me) cooler feature is when you run across something on the InterTubez that you want to share: through a plugin for your browser you can “pin” those, too. I’ve tried it several times and, apart from the restriction where you can’t pin stuff directly from Facebook posts, it’s really convenient.
What happens then? People see your boards. I’m not entirely sure how so many total strangers suddenly began seeing mine in less than a day, but the initial email traffic I got from likes and “re-pins” was much heavier than I expected and impelled me to change my account settings to stem the tide. What is this “re-pin” of which I speak? That’s part of where the social aspect comes in: people can easily share and re-share your pins via their own boards. See how this could quickly go viral?
What else is cool about pins? They retain a link to the original source. Yeah. You post something wicked cool on your blog that has an image associated, and people find it good enough to pin. Now you have incoming links that, if your stuff catches on, can multiply like bunnies. I’m no marketing maven but even I can see how that can drive traffic to your site.
What can you pin? Besides images, you can upload video or (I prefer this method) pin stuff from YouTube. As a 3D graphic artist and animator I now have a venue for strutting both static pieces and animated ones. Pretty cool!
Oh, another social aspect to all this is you can anoint other members to be able to pin to your boards. Now you have a collaborative, shared space. I’m on a couple of shared boards already and it’s a lot of fun…well, sharing stuff on them.
I’m sure there’s more to all this that I’m not getting yet, but hopefully this gives you the elevator pitch. I’m enjoying it thus far and I think you would, too. If you’re still on a long waiting list for an invite send me a message with your e-mail address (my contact link is top right) and I can hook you up.
If you’re curious here is a link to my own Pinterest Boards.