A taste of “going viral”…

On Pinterest?

I’ve been a member of the design inspiration sharing social network for about a year now. I use it as a giant inspiration board. A place to save all the things I see throughout the day, on blogs, or that are shared by friends on twitter, that make me happy, and that I like.

Up until about a week ago, that is.

Before then Pinterest was simply a place for me to save the things I liked. Oh, sure, I’d get a few people liking my pins, repinning them to their own boards, or even following me. I thought that was kind of fun. I had notifications set to send me an email as soon as there was site activity, and I’d get about 10 a week. Maximum. And then, in the space of a day, all that changed. My inbox filled up with individual email notifications. Hundreds of them.

The first thing I did was to turn off individual email notifications. And then I noticed something interesting. All these new likes and repins were only for a handful of my pins, and there was no uptick in the number of folks who followed me. It made me wonder what was going on?

I know that Pinterest has been exploding of late. There are blog posts about how it drives more referral traffic than Google+ (and almost as much as Twitter), and that Pinterest is incredibly successful with women (80% of Pinterest users are women. I guess I’m just in touch with my feminine side.).

Could all these new users account for my pin’s 15 milliseconds of fame? Or did Pinterest release some new feature that suddenly boosted my pins’ popularities?

What do you think?