Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Join it: Signpost and Pinterest

I joke that I need a social networking site to network all my social networking sites (got that?), because, as an enthusiastic Web 2.0 participant, I will pretty much join anything. Some I end up visiting daily (Facebook, Twitter), others more occasionally (Goodreads, Linkedin), and many rarely at all (Lookbooks, OnSugar). That said, some sites are more useful than others, and I'm always intrigued by those that fill a void of sorts in my life that I wasn't even aware existed.

Signpost can perhaps best be described as a cross between Groupon and Yelp; it relies on members to share deals, such as amazing happy hours or secret sample sales, and to vet them. Like Groupon, Signpost also has exclusive offers available for purchase; unlike Groupon, these deals tend to run for longer periods of time and the fine print is a bit more visible (then again, perhaps I've been burned by Groupon one too many times). For example, here's one for $120 worth of clothing for $60 at Heartbeat Style in Hoboken; there are also lots of enticing offers for cheap blowouts, fitness classes, mani-pedis, and the like. To encourage members to share, you receive Karma points when another user likes your deal, and you can then redeem those points for a discount on a for-purchase offer. In other words, the more good deals you share (and the more users like them), the more you can purchase. (I think I am making this sound more confusing than it is, but browse the site a bit and it all starts to make sense.) Signpost is free to use, as is its excellent iPhone app, which might just be its secret weapon. It's how I discovered that my local nail salon offers free cosmos with purchase on Thursday and Friday nights, and if there's anything better than having a free cocktail while getting a pedicure, I have yet to discover it. (Then again, maybe I will find it on Signpost!) Signpost is currently available for NYC, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, but will hopefully be rolling out to more cities soon.

My other recent obsession is Pinterest, a site that's still in its early stages, but judging by how addicted I am to it, I have a feeling it will soon be...well, the next Tumblr. Basically, you install a little plug-in for your web browser that allows you to "pin" compelling images to your virtual pinboard. You can pin anything you like, from inspiring images to stuff you want to buy, and you can arrange your pins in any way you see fit. The social networking factor comes into play because you can follow friends (or just people you like--the site is pretty democratic), re-pin others' pinned items, and comment on items too. Really, I love the site because I read hundreds of emails, websites, and blog posts a day, and Pinterest is a way to catalog and organize everything I see that I like and want to remember. I also leave little comments on everything (although you don't have to), which makes Pinterest, by extension, a random, micro version of Cheryl Shops. Here's my page; you can check out my four pinboards (and, yes, that's me on the left, chomping on a piece of bacon) and see everything that's caught my eye lately. Since Pinterest is still in Beta, the site is by invitation only, however if you email me, I'll send one if you promise to follow me. And I'll return the favor--after all, you can't have too many friends (or, apparently, social networks).

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