Pinterest is rising and growing at an amazing rate. Pinterest is a vision board-styled social photo sharing website and app where users can create and manage theme-based image collections. Pinterest has became one of the top social sharing sites on the planet now. The site now has a global Alexa traffic rank of 110 and its also ranked 22 in the US.

I have written about three posts on Pinterest already. Mashable and Techcrunch have both written lots of articles on the social photo sharing in the past three months. Everyday new bloggers write their own reviews about Pinterest. Take a look at Pinterest’s one-year traffic on Compete from Oct 2010 to Oct 2011.

Pinterest leverages web content from Tumblr, hence riding on top of its network-effect while not requiring user generated content like many services. In-networking virality (pin, repin, like) has been impressive on the site.  Out network sharing  via Facebook, Twitter is also possible to grow virally. I believe social sites with impressive visual effects have also ejoyed huge traffic and usage because of the way humans interact with images. Site like 500px, Snapfish, shutterfly,Path and Instagram,  have witnessed massive usage in recent times because of the fact that users are able to share visual images of themselves, others and items easily.

Pinterest is still in an invite-only beta. I recently received an invitation to join Pinterest and so far I am impressed with how I am able to pin images and share them with others. I think opportunity for growth are enormous, considering the fact that the site has a devoted users who visit the site on daily basis to check out new images and pins of interest to them. A large part of the invite system may be  to avoid spammers getting on Pinterest. It looks like invite-only has become the new way to protect your site or app from spams and most importantly get more people to talk about it and get their friends to join them on new sites. For some reason it works. It worked for Google+ last year when they launched. Naturally people get curious and want to know what the app is all about hence the need to request for invitation from friends.

The big question is-Can Pinterest Sustain the growth in 2012?.  Pinterest has grown a devoted base of users — most of whom are  females — who enjoy “pinning” items they find around the Web especially home decor, wedding, fashion and recipe items.Will the same users be around and use the Pinterest the same way they are using it by close of the year.

Pete Cashmore,  founder and CEO of Mashable believes Pinterest is the breakout social network of 2012. Do you agree and do you think the growth will continue in the coming months.