Hi Frances, I think the easiest analogy of pinterest is to think of it like you might use a pin board in your kitchen, pinning interesting articles or recipes to it so you can find them again later. You can do the same with pinterest but for things found on the web, typically you pin an image from the site you are on with a short description (you can search these), then when you want to go back to that site you just click on the photo you saved.
If you are looking for instructions you might want to try searches including the word tutorial, eg felt tutorial, this will generate lots of pins and if you click on the pictures, with a little luck you will be taken to an actual tutorial.
That's what I do - Amongst my boards, I have a board where I can save interesting "HowTos" for possible future use, a board for dogs (just because I like them), a board for 'art' (there are some wonderful painters and sculptors out there) and of course a board for felting and textiles where I save anything that catches my eye. I do pin my own stuff because it's a sharing thing - if nobody pinned their own stuff I wouldn't have so much to put on my board.
Interesting to read your takes on pinterest. I started on flickr and found it good for sharing like minded crafts. My daughter suggested Pinterest, I found it is more like falling down a black hole of sooo much!
I think that's the difference you don't join, just pick and mix, not got the connection in the way I like. But that might well be me being a old fuddy duddy :-) I do like that I can just pick images just because I like them and keep them as a reference and if I want to go back to the site they came from then that is an option. But really I pin things I like the look of and then get lost looking and linking up with all the other options, time would be better spent felting! I started out on flickr with felting and then added more random photos so split out to two streams, not good]just way too much. So with facebook I am just doing it all felting and personal mix. I figure that folk will make do, like it or not.
I started Pinterest because of the store/gallery. It does get some traffic to my site. Not that people buy that much but it is good to get the images out there so you get recognition. I use it as a free advertising tool.
I get quite a lot of traffic from Pinterest to my blog, and I think that is how most non-Swedes find their way to my pedominantly Swedish blog. And that's what I like about Pinterest - there is less of a language barrier. I have found some really nice Russian sites, with photos showing felting processes, that I would never have come across by just using Google.
That makes sense Zara, I have often wondered about the Russian and Indian visitors to my blog, I had assumed they were English speakers but maybe they are being routed via Pinterest. Like you, about a third of my blog traffic comes Pinterest.