Everybody I know is pinning things like made to their Pinterest boards. Every day I see friends and acquaintances sharing links via Twitter and Facebook of recent “acquisitions” like new recipes, clothing, and nifty gadgets for a birthday or holiday wishlist. My own Pinterest board has grown by leaps and bounds as I use it for a variety of purposes – promotion of my work, collecting recipes for future dinners, and even creating a Christmas list for family. Recently, Pinterest rolled out the ability to create secret boards. If you’re an avid pinner this could be something useful on many levels.

So now when you log into Pinterest and go to your boards, you should see when you’ve scrolled to the bottom of the screen a shaded section for secret boards. Right now, users can create up to three boards of pins that will not be seen by other users when they view your Pinterest page. If you wish, later on, to make these boards public you can adjust the settings to do so, but note that once a board is no longer secret you can’t change it back. Also, your existing boards are not able to be set to secret.

If you want other people to see the board, right now the only way to make that happen is to invite collaborators to pin on the board with you. While you can add people to collaborate, only you have the power to make the board visible if you choose, and to approve new collaborators. These collaborators can like and repin selections from this secret board elsewhere on Pinterest, but as long as the board is secret those pins will not show the origins to others.

Secret Pinterest boards can be useful if you are planning a private function and you are gathering information to help you with the project, or if you’re working on a themed board and do not want to present it until you think it’s complete. You might wonder, however, what good is a secret board if nobody can see your content, but there are advantages.

Let’s say you want to create exclusive content that’s only visible to select people. These could be VIP subscribers, contest winners, or others in a unique group. Blogs and other sites have the functionality to create password protected pages for exclusive access, so in that sense it could work here on Pinterest. You create a secret board, invite other select Pinterest users to collaborate, and you have created a small community within this social site. In turn, these contributors could help you by repinning certain things from this board and hopefully nurturing the viral quality of your work.

Social media will forever change as the public demands more flexibility. Secret boards could be the beginning of some great stuff for Pinterest, but for now this functionality is worth looking into for marketing ideas.

Kathryn Lively is a social media specialist assisting clients with social media writing and Facebook marketing. Clients include Virginia Beach rug stores, Fairfax personal injury lawyers, Virginia health care services, Norfolk real estate agents, global trade portals, and Gainesville bed and breakfast inns.