Pinterest: Not just for weddings

Pinterest Picture

My Pinterest Story

For the past year or so I have avoided Pinterest. Why? Well the responsible part of my brain will say that I’m a graduate student and I really just don’t have the extra time to pick up yet another social media platform. I do not need another distraction while sitting at my computer trying to do work. The carefree side of my mind was convinced it was a website that people used to endless pass around crafts, wedding ideas, and pretty pictures with little rhyme or reason. Therefore Pinterest was just something I was not interested in.

However, my impression of Pinterest began to change as I saw how others (friends and family) chose to use it. I was beginning to see the practicality of Pinterest. I especially was drawn to the numerous recipe boards. I’d see a Pinterest update on Facebook for a recipe and I’d find myself clicking on it, but unlike other Pinterest users I had no where to put this interesting recipe I wanted to try. A tab in my internet browser would languish for days or weeks until I got around to making the dish. I slowly began to consider the upside to having a place to stash all of my beloved internet recipes.

It was not until a just over a week ago that I finally decided to take the plunge into Pinterest world. I was pushed over the edge by an article I read in Wired Magazine. In Clive Thompson’s article “In Defense of Pinterest”, he states that “Pinterest’s appeal is that it gives us curiously powerful visual way to communicate, think, and remember.” I was also brought in by the ideas of “categorical thinking” (I am in Library School after all) and “visual memory locker”. The latter idea put forth the notion of creating boards showing off one’s digital bookshelf. That way the reader has a way to visually connect with their digital books just like when one stands infront of their physical bookshelves. Thompson also backs up Bianca Bosker who argues that “Facebook and Twitter are inwardly focused (“Look at me!”) while Pinterest is outwardly focused (Look at this!).” I loved that idea. I needed some outward focus after worrying over Twitter and this blog.

My Pin Boards: Recipes, Kindle Bookshelf, Cosplay Ideas, Inforgraphics, Library Porn (pretty pics of libraries), and Christmas List

How I use Pinterest

Now what exactly did I do with Pinterest once I signed up? I know that the purpose of Pinterest and its benefits to the user is what is stopping many of us from joining. So I am sharing my boards with you. Like I mentioned above, my first order of business was bringing together all of my recipes from all over the Internet and putting them in one place. Before I had an ungainly Google Spreadsheet that I shared with my husband. It was a quick, dirty way of keeping all my favorite recipes in one place, but it was lacking the visual appeal of most cookbooks. My new pin board, however, is nothing if not visually appetizing. Also I get quick links to all my recipes and since Pinterest is totally public my husband can easily look at the board as well.

I have also taken Clive Thompson’s suggestion and created a Kindle Bookshelf. I enjoyed the exercise. I am not sold on the long lasting benefit of the board, but it is probably good for my memory to link books to their covers. I have also added some more personal boards (Cosplay Ideas & Christmas List) that are like the Recipes board functioning as link or idea buckets. I can gather up ideas from all over the Internet and post them in one central easily accessible location.

The Values of Pinterest

I believe this is the reason why Pinterest has grown so fast and so easily. It allows us to tap into the visual portion of our mind in an Internet that is inherently textual. Instead of my textual list of food blog links, I now have beautiful food pictures (which is half the appeal of food blogs). Also Pinterest allows us to categorize our visual links any which way we want. I have seen people split their recipes into “carbful” and “carbless”. I have seen nibbles, sandwiches, desserts, favorites, to-do, done and the list goes on. I even wander unto a Pinterest page where the user had divided art by dominate color. Then we have the practicality of Pinterest. It gives us a place to bring together all of the neat, useful, wonderful things we have seen across the Internet on different websites, blogs, social media, etc and put it in one place that allows us to “refind” it later. As an information professional I find Pinterest a wonderland of information behavior. People self- categorizing and showing us what is important enough to bring together from all over the Internet so it can be found again.

I greatly encourage library students to check out Pinterest. If you are visual person and you need a place to dump all of those awesome book display ideas for your Youth Services internship, man have I got a wonderful place for you.

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7 Comments

Filed under Library School, Social Media

7 responses to “Pinterest: Not just for weddings

  1. Great post! I am an avid Pinterest user, I primarily use it to store all the recipes I find but it’s also great for finding inspiration for every day things like crafts and even outfit ideas. This platform’s popularity does speak to how visual we all are. I also think it’s a great platform for libraries to take advantage of.

    • Thanks! Though really what use is a recipe without a photo? I always am more apt to cook recipes from cookbooks when it is accompanied by a photo.
      Have you checked out the History Category? I checked it out last night and some museum was pinning (or something was repinning) tons of period dresses. So cool!

  2. Great post! I pretty accurately described why I use Pinterest! And I even torture myself by thinking I’ll have time to make some of those cutesy not so useful crafts eventually!

    There education category is also awesome since I’m teaching right now. It has lots of great ideas for classrooms. Some schools are even allowing teachers to access Pinterest at work just for that category of posts!

    • My mom uses the education category quite regularly as do several other teachers I know. It is really awesome that Pinterest has created this hub for online education resources.

      On a different subject, I’m considering creating a “completed”, “tried” or “finished” board to show that I’m actually acting on the stuff I’m pinning. Right now I’m commenting on every recipe pin I try and saying if it was as good as promised, but that doesn’t really capitalize on the visuality of Pinterest.

  3. Really insightful post. I am slowly coming around to Pinterest. I had a friend send me a board for curating a professional family photoshoot. She pinned everything from the shirt her husband was going to wear to the color of yarn for a baby dress her friend was making. It truly is emerging as an incredibly multipurpose tool.

    • So with the addition of private boards this week, all Pinterest users got a nice little email. In the email Ben (head of Pinterest?), talks about how after his first kid was born his wife magically knew all these little tricks about babies and seemed ultra prepared. When he asked how she knew all this stuff, she replied that she had been following parents on Pinterest! Pinterest had been her guidebook to new motherhood.

      I’m always amazed at what people do with their boards. Makes me feel very non-creative sometimes!

  4. Tom Wang

    Interesting and insightful post!
    I started using Pinterest, at first, I thought it was stupid. However, overtime as I use it more, I find it to be quite useful for pining things relating to a hobby or a craft. For example, I cook quite a bit at home and I love is grilling meat and fish. Many times, I search the web for recipes and always forget to book mark that page. However, with Pinterest, I can capture the recipe image along with the content and when I log in, all the recipes I pinned are all there visually!

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