At the end of the summer of 2011, I noticed that my girlfriend (now wife) was always looking at images on an iPhone app. One day I asked her what it is.

“Pinterest,” she told me. “It’s an easy way to flick through images to find things that I am interested in.”

Since that conversation, I’ve been the beneficiary of several amazing desserts she has cooked from recipes found on Pinterest, including Oreo brownie cupcakes and no-bake peanut butter bars.

On another occasion, I heard her laughing and looked over to see a new breed of Internet memes pop up on her Pinterest stream. That was when I realized that this new social network had arrived and I had better look into it.

Pinterest is, of course, the current darling of social media, a social network in which its users “pin” and “repin” images to “pinboards” along with brief comments. It is the third-most popular social network in the U.S., and many news outlets, blogs, and brand websites have added “Pin It” buttons to their Web pages.

[RELATED: What is Pinterest? And should your brand climb aboard?]

Most of the “pinners” in the U.S. are women, and some guys may have avoided Pinterest because they assume that only females use it. Unfortunately for them, they don’t see how it could be applicable to their lives. To that end, it might surprise you to find out that in the U.K. men use Pinterest more than women.

Whether male or female, Pinterest is a powerful social network. Not only is the following list a guide to the site, but also it offers some ways that this Average Joe has used it.

1. The new way to bookmark

With “Pin it” buttons popping up on websites everywhere, Pinterest is a great way to bookmark articles that you want to read later. The visual style of the website makes it easy to flip through your bookmarks and pick out the article that you want to reference, or read an article that caught your eye.

2. Promote your website

Regardless if your audience is predominately male, Pinterest is a great place to promote your blog or website by pinning stories, especially if you have an eye-catching graphic on the post. Having a board that you pin your most recent articles is another way you can engage with readers who use Pinterest as their preferred social network. Furthermore, be sure to add the “Pin it” button to your website or blog so that that pinners can easily upload interesting content to their boards.

3. Search what’s hot

I often search the URL of our website on Twitter to find out what cloud computing content from our site is resonating. Similarly, I can do a search on Pinterest to see how some of our more visually stimulating pieces (particularly infographics) are being shared.

[RELATED: 10 ways to use Pinterest for business]

There is a little bit of a work around that you need to do. If you are curious if people are repinning your content you can append your website address to (for example

4. Find your inspiration

While poetry and flowery prose may not resonate with some of us guys, it doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate an inspirational quote. From the famous “Play Like A Champion Today” in the Notre Dame locker room, to quotes on entrepreneurship, Pinterest has plenty of inspirational quotes, pictures, and stories for guys. I find these pins by browsing the boards of the pinners I follow as well the “Everything” board, which aggregates all the pins. These stories are strong motivation to keep me striving for greatness.

5. Laugh out loud

Internet memes that are beloved by many guys translate well on Pinterest because the website is so visual. I like how the ecosystem has adopted and modified many of the older memes, adapted funny pictures to become new memes with the iconic block lettering, and brought to the forefront the incredibly sarcastic (and pleasantly vulgar) someecards. I am always grinning as I browse through Pinterest.

6. Get a little style

For you guys lacking style (like me), Pinterest can help you out. A simple search for “men’s style” will show you pictures on how to put yourself together for that next night out. My go to board is Tristan Walker’s fashion board so I can check out ways to look sharp. Grant it, I probably won’t ever wear anything that cool. But then again, how many recipes that are pinned actually get made? We can all dream big, and that my friends is the greatest attraction of all to Pinterest.

Garrett Heath blogs for Rackspace and has experience as a technical project manager in the cloud. He enjoys writing about how the cloud is spurring innovation for startups, small businesses, and enterprises. Follow him on Twitter @pinojo.

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