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Pinterest online curation pinboard with major promise

by Joe Murphy Librarian on December 19th, 2011

Pinterest and libraries … and more.

Pinterest is an online visual pinboard for curating images and web content with major promise as a top tech going into 2012.

Pinterest for images of things you’ve enjoyed or to bookmark those you want to tap into mega trends of self curration and visual sharing.

Pinterest was the #4 most searched term on Google in the US for 2011.

What Pinterest is:

Pinterest self describes as “an online virtual pinboard,” (online cork board?) From its “What is Pinterest” page, “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web (http://pinterest.com/about/). It is a platform for browsing “to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” Pinterest’s goal is “to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” Adding that “a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people.” “Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.”

I like this Crunchbase description “Pinterest is a social catalog service. Think of it as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can post collections of things you love, and “follow” collections created by people with great taste”

It is best understood by giving it a try. Go to http://pinterest.com/home to get started and check it out.

I think of Pinterest as: A way to share web content as well as experiences and hopes through the images associated with them. Web bookmarking meets photo sharing meets visual to do lists.

Why Pinterest is Important:
We experience and consume so much visually and Pinterest gives us a way to share and make note of goals, plans, experience, desires, with images from online or from our own lives.

Pinterest also appears to be a major tech resource at the end of this year and will be bigger going into 2012. It uses and expands the trend of visual sharing and ties in aspects of mobile, peer discovery, sharing by images, and useful actualizations of social media. I brings together the successful trends of photo sharing, self curation of digital content, social discovery and sharing.

Pinterest is important to libraries because it empowers patrons as self curators and it gives us a service opportunity to mark and share books and resources with users through their pictures and those they discover.

How to Pin: Pinterest is generally used by Pinning images discovered online to your own pinboards using the browser ‘Pin It’ button, through the iPhone mobile app, or added manually from your Pinetrest web page.

Uses of Pinterest:

Create boards of related topics or use the default boards. “People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes” (http://pinterest.com/about/).  Use Pinterest boards for collecting images of recipes, posting pictures of meals made, books to read, Christmas or birthday wishlists or wedding registries, art, home decoration ideas, how to hair style sets, and fashion.

Follow as well as contribute: Follow all the postings of other Pinterest users or just their boards focusing on topic of interest to you.

My uses of Pinterest:

I have been playing with Pinterest for awhile now and found a groove that works for me even though it is not necessarily how others might use it.

  • Personal:
    • I share pics of where I have been as personal and social pinboard/visual diary.
    • I pin pics of where I want to go as visual to do list. Not just dream locations, but also those on my itinerary for upcoming business trips, using Pinterest to serve as travel schedule.
    • I share pics I have taken in my life, pinned from my Flickr or Instagram streams to contribute my images and not only re-pin others’ pics.
    • I add pics through the mobile app to share images from my real life in real time. Unlike photo sharing apps, I don’t pin these just to share, but only if they fit into one of my established pin boards.
    • I have a board for a visual book shelf for books I have read or want to read.
  • Professional:
    • I am also trying an experiment of pinning news items to their own dedicated board, latching onto the success of visual content platforms like Flipboard.
    • Projects Board: I have also created a board to which I pin images from some work projects of mine.

I also use Pinterest for discovery:

  • I browse what others pin in common areas such as books, travel, or products, for ideas to inspire my activities, books to read, places to visit.
  • Christmas shopping: I watched people’s pinboards of products they love or want very carefully for ideas to add to my shopping list or wish lists.

Our/library/professional reasons for exploring Pinterest:

  • Facilitating curation: the biggest reason information professionals should be interested in Pinterest is the potential it offers for facilitating self curation.
  • It successfully leverages visual elements for discovery on a large scale.
  • We can tap into the social rewards it offers for sharing within a community.
  • It can serve as a platform for providing resources and marketing services.
  • And of course, for connecting with and attracting community.

Library/professional/institutional uses:

Here are some suggested ways for an institution to make use of Pinterest:

  • Books and Collections: Pin pictures and covers of new books or of popular titles in a series, from a highlighted genres, for classes or groups, from course reserves.
  • Post and share contributions by community members: artwork, accomplishments, events
  • Visual resource guide: Pin images from links in subject guides, pathfinders, Libguides, catalogs, and more.
  • Onsite resources: Pin pics of the library, campus, or community.
  • Facilitate collaboration:
  • -   Encourage and teach in the use of Pinterest for bookmarking resources.
  • -  Keep in toolbox of resources to suggest people make use of.
  • Use as a teaching tool or for ongoing consultations. Build a board dedicated to resources of interest to specific clients.
  • Help patrons use Pinterest as a collaboration tool.
  • Pin pictures of staff to up the human element.
  • Metrics for assessment:
    • Track: how many people follow your Pinterest account as a whole as well as individual boards, Comments and Likes on pins, and Re-pins.
  • Pin pictures already in use for various social media projects by pinning from your Instagram feed, Flickr page, Facebook profile, etc.

For staff:

  • Set individual Board settings to invite other specific Contributors making the board a group project. There is no limit to how many Pins you can add per board.
  • Use Pinboards for collaborative projects
  • To share staff resources
  • To share reading suggestions or continuing education opportunities
  • For office decoration ideas
  • Connect the Pinterest native app or HTML5 app to staff or workplace smartphones or tablets as a service tool as well as to facilitate use by and for staff.
Other Best Practices:
  • Maximize timing by pinning to keep your items in the timeline at the right times.
  • Carefully craft boards so that your connections can strategically follow the boards best for their interests.
  • Don’t over pin and clutter the timeline.
  • Add the Pinterest Follow button for libraries advertising subject guides, web resources, and image collections. Also valuable for businesses/designers/professionals wishing to connect with customers in the network.
  • Fold Pinterest into your PR and Social media strategy. Monitor it market it, and maximize it for conversations.

More info:

Follow Me on Pinterest

online cork board

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