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Aussies lag behind netizens who pick and stick with Pinterest

Barack Obama is on board, and Australians are tipped to flock to sign up to the latest social media craze, Pinterest.

The website's invitation-only registration may suggest exclusivity but the virtual pinboard of things that interest users (hence the name Pinterest) has had enormous growth, particularly in the United States.

Pinterest's 18 million users find images, or use their own photos, and post them to their pinboards. Users can follow each other's boards and re-pin items of interest. The website, which launched in 2010 but gained traction earlier this year, has become particularly popular among women, brides-to-be, home renovators, decorators and cooks. Australian take-up has been slower: there were just under 700,000 page views last week and only a handful of local companies actively use the site.

Matt Glasner, the general manager of Experian Marketing Services, said Pinterest's weekly site visits in Australia had grown by 500,000 since December.

''Picture sharing on social media has been popular with consumers for a while … and Pinterest builds on this,'' he said. ''Its pinboard-themed sharing platform is intuitive, so it's hardly surprising that it is becoming so popular, particularly when you consider the proliferation of smartphones.''

The head of digital and social media at marketing and communications firm Haystac, Kristen Boschma, believes Pinterest's growth will continue.

''Pinterest is a throwback to the time in our lives when we stuck posters up on our bedroom wall; we can now share the images that inspire us with thousands of strangers,'' she said.

''We are a fairly practical lot in Australia and so the idea of sharing cool pictures for nothing more than inspiration and beauty will take time to take off. But it will take off.''

Kimberly-Clark, the parent company of Kleenex, has just launched a Pinterest tie-in to its advertising campaign, ''Love Your Forests''.

Pinterest users are being encouraged to ''capture, compile and share sustainable household tips and everyday wisdom about making a difference in the home''. Brian Giesen, director of Social@Ogilvy, the social media agency partnering Kimberly-Clark in the campaign, said Pinterest was chosen over social media sites because ''it helps explain a complex and nebulous topic in a really visual and easy way''.

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