In the midst of Facebook’s underwhelming stock performance—which has dipped below $30 a share—some analysts are predicting the beginning of the end of social media. Their claims aren’t completely unfounded in regard to revenue: Facebook isn’t doing too well on the open market, and the other two major social media networks, LinkedIn and Twitter, are still trying to figure out how to turn a profit.

While all this paints a pretty bleak picture, what these analysts are missing is Pinterest, the underdog social networking site that added 10 million users in just two months. And the best part? They’re already successfully monetizing their service and helping businesses of all sizes do the same.

While this is only the first part of my adventures with Pinterest, I’m already a little addicted. It’s like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram all rolled into one.

Not only can you share images with your network, you can add video playlists, use hashtags to help sort your info and integrate with a Twitter campaign, add links to the description of your pin or the image itself (and then track its click-through rates to your site via analytics software such as Google Analytics), and even sell your products using their site.

The catch? In return for helping e-commerce stores share their products, Pinterest reserves the right to place affiliate links, where applicable, within outbound links, thus helping them keep the lights on. As most businesses see it, this is a small price to pay for excellent engagement.

Because Pinterest is still so new (it was founded only two years ago), many businesses and marketers have either been slow to join or are still trying to find the best, most efficient way to leverage the platform. And yet, Pinterest still boasts more robust click-through rates than many of its more established competitors. It’s safe to say that Pinterest will continue to surge in popularity (with 11 million total users, it’s still just in invitation-only beta), and that it will only become a more profitable social media network for businesses. And while the company isn’t planning on launching an IPO just yet, Pinterest is one of the most efficient ways around to make your business public.

In the coming weeks I’ll be delving deeper into the Pinterest pool and reporting on the site’s pros, cons, and most effective ways to use it, so stay tuned. And in the meantime, don’t forget to follow Table XI’s Pinterest boards.

How hundreds of nails and a whole lot of string represent the way we work