It's getting to be about that time when you might see something online and think "I should put that on my Christmas list". Or, if you're thinking ahead, you might be thinking about your Christmas shopping already.
One of the best things to happen to Christmas shopping for the 2011 season is Pinterest. As I described in this previous post, Pinterest is an application that is basically an electronic version of cutting pictures out of a magazine and pinning them to a bulletin board. With Pinterest, you can virtually "pin" images of what you want for Christmas onto a pin board, include price info and size too. The best part? Pinterest maintains the source of the original pin and you can view its original source by clicking on the image.
Never used Pinterest? You have to "request an invite" on the site, but that takes very little time. Alternatively, you can ask a friend to invite you, which speeds up the process a bit.
Pinterest can be a little confusing at first. "Re-pinning" pins from the boards you follow is pretty self-explanatory. You just roll over the image and select "re-pin". Pinning your own images can be confusing. In order to do it, follow the directions at the top of this page. They're a little less complicated than when I first started using the website.
Once you install the "Pin It" bookmark on your browser, you can click on it anytime you see an image on a page that you like. In your window a grid of all the images on the page will show up. Simply roll your mouse over the one you want to pin and click "pin". Then you can add a description/comment and list how much the item costs (if it's something to buy).
One CRITICAL thing to do is try to pin your image from a unique URL. For example, if you see something you like on a blog and you're on that blog's main page, click on the title of the blog post itself and pin the image from there. That way, your image will always go to a page with the original image and content. If you pin from the main page and then click on the image, then you will go to the main page even if the image has been cycled off and is on older pages.
The same thing goes for online shopping. If you see an image on a page that you're browsing, click on the individual item and pin the image from that item's unique URL.
One limit of Pinterest I've noticed is that some particular online retailers don't use image files on their item detail pages. In this case, sometimes it helps to pin it from the list of items but include the URL of the item itself.
I hope this makes sense. If anything in this post doesn't make sense, leave a comment and I'll clarify.