Pinterest Tests Secret Boards

New private boards have gifting applications, but businesses should take note, too. Here's what you need to know.

Debra Donston-Miller

November 9, 2012

4 Min Read
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10 Tips For Tapping Consumer Sentiment On Social Networks

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Did you ever wish you could create a Pinterest board that only you and select invitees could view? No? Me, either, but Pinterest is now testing a "secret boards" feature that will let you do just that, and the idea is kind of growing on me.

Secret boards are actually one of Pinterest's most frequently requested features, according to a post Thursday on the company blog by software engineer Evrhet Milam. In an email that went out to Pinterest users Friday morning, CEO Ben Silbermann said, "Secret boards give you a place for things you're not quite ready to share yet, like a surprise party, special gift ideas or even planning for a new baby. We're testing out the feature by giving everyone 3 secret boards. ... We can't wait to hear what you think!"

The three test secret boards can be found at the bottom of your profile page. According to the Pinterest blog, you can also add a secret board by clicking Add+ at the top-right corner of Pinterest, selecting Create Board, and turning the Secret button on. Existing boards cannot retroactively be made secret.

Secret boards can also be created from mobile devices: You have to download the most recent version of Pinterest for the iPhone, iPad or Android, go to your profile, tap the Boards tab, then scroll down until you see the Create a Secret Board button.

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Pins added to secret boards can be seen only on those boards -- they won't show up anywhere else on Pinterest. Pinterest has updated its support and privacy documents with the new boards in mind.

So, why would you want to create a secret board? "The holidays are a time for being with family, sharing great meals and, of course, surprising your favorite people with a special gift," said Milam on the Pinterest blog. "That's why we thought the holidays were a perfect time to test one of our most frequently requested features: secret boards!"

Sure, the holidays are a great time to introduce this feature: For example, you could create a board called something like "Gifts Little Timmy Wants For Christmas," and invite Grandma, Grandpa and everyone else near and dear to Timmy's heart (or at least those inclined to get him a gift). And there are always birthdays, anniversaries, baby and wedding showers, and so on.

Businesses could also make use of secret boards for collaborating on projects internally, although that might be kind of a stretch, given all of the other ways in which (and platforms on which) workers can collaborate. With that said, secret boards can be opened up by turning the secret feature off, so groups working on a company Pinterest board could do it in stealth mode before making it public.

But I can also imagine, say, a chain restaurant company inviting a select group of users (winners of a contest or the most prolific commenters or something like that) to collaborate via secret board on the ingredients that will make up a new pizza (crowdsourcing with images), or a clothing retailer working with customers that have proven themselves to be brand ambassadors using the boards to add their insight into the colors that should be used for next fall's fashion line. In other words, the secret boards could be used both to incent customers to interact with the company and as a way to get very focused customer feedback.

The possibilities may not be limitless, but they are certainly interesting.

What do you think of secret boards? Can you see yourself and your company using them? How? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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