When you want to collect and share cool gadgets or pictures from the Web, Pinterest is the place to be. But Pinterest has limits — it's mainly about the pictures, not the details.
Thingle, a new social media platform currently in beta, puts the Pinterest concept on steroids, expanding on the basics and adding a few cool touches of its own.
If you use Pinterest, Thingle will look and feel familiar. After you log in with your Facebook username and password, you can browse pictures of products, music, places or any other information that other users have posted. These individual posts are called "thingles."
Like with Pinterest, you can post your own thingle by taking content from most any Web page or photos from your computer. On the Thingle site, you copy and paste a URL of a page or use the thingle bookmarklet to post directly from the source site. This bookmarklet works for the Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers.
But each post is more than just a picture pinned to the site, and that's where Thingle gets interesting. You also get to write your own headline and description, and you can tag the post. Tagging makes it easier to find related thingles on the site. For example, if you click a "lego" tag, you'll see all the thingles related to Lego. Pinterest relies on the descriptions written on a pin — if a user doesn't provide a useful description or pins without one at all, that post won't be found in searches.
As in Pinterest, users can like, share and comment on posts, but editing — rather than just replacing a description with your own when you repin — is encouraged on Thingle. The original poster is labeled as the curator and those who add to or change a description are editors. The curator and editors are displayed under each thingle. In a way, a thingle is like an entry in Wikipedia, which many people add to and improve. If you're open to collaboration, this could improve your thingle's details. On the other hand, you'll need to keep an eye on the changes people make, so they don't alter your original meaning.
If someone else creates a thingle you like, you can add it to your collection. But unlike repining in Pinterest, you don't make a copy of the original thingle. Instead, you embed the active item, meaning that all new details and conversations will appear in your collection as they are added to the item.
Plus, Thingle gives you more than the 500 characters allowed in a Pinterest description. You can add as much information as you like. And you (or other users) can add more photos, which display as a slideshow when you click on a Thingle. If you've posted something that has a physical location, such as food from a restaurant, you can add a map.
Like with Pinterest, you can share your posts on Facebook and Twitter. Thingle can also share to Pinterest and Tumblr.
The site has room for improvement, though. Following people is more difficult than it should be. You have to view a user's profile to do so, instead of just clicking some type of "follow" button from the thingle the user created, a more intuitive method.
The greatest advantage Pinterest offers over Thingle is volume. Pinterest's existing community means that you'll find much more to look at. Being brand new, Thingle feels thin on content when browsing and searching. (Of course, it's still in beta.)
Because they offer the same service at their core — a way to share and browse information — you probably don't need to use both services. But if you'd like to have a dialog with users about the items you and they collect, Thingle might be right for you.