[Published in the OSALL newsletter of August 2012]
Very few facets of our lives can be strictly compartmentalised into work or play. Software that we may have initially used for social or entertainment purposes, like Facebook or YouTube or Twitter, soon found application in the business sector. Even SARS is now utilising YouTube1 as an educational tool to assist taxpayers – not that the forum makes taxation fun, but credit is due. (What a lovely ring that phrase has : I feel a 16pt bold emoticon coming on).
Hype is hollow but any web service that attracts more traffic than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ together, and generates more referral traffic than Twitter is not to be sneezed at – especially when this happens within two years of inception. My previous column sniffed around the ankles of Pinterest as the potential for application within the library environment was immediately discernible, even if the details needed fleshing out. (Sniffing and sneezing : what could I have been thinking).
A recent infographic2 highlights trends among Pinterest users3 ; interestingly, the third highest job title was “Education, Training and Library”.
The American Library Association’s ACRL will be hosting a live webcast later this month that focuses on Pinterest4 as a “strong resource in the modern academic library tool box”. The notice elaborates : “Pinterest is important for academic and research libraries because of its implications for information usage, content sharing, service enhancements, and opportunities for collaboration and PR”. Possible applications include “marketing services and collections, leveraging the tool for subject liaison activities, utilizing Pinterest for instruction and orientation, optimizing online resources for use with Pinterest to extend their reach, addressing ethical use of visual information through proper applications and considerations, and for teaching and expanding information literacy skills”.
A recent article on the use of Pinterest for business5 offers many useful pointers. Anyone considering expanding their online presence into this forum will benefit from Donna Moritz’s suggestions but I have focused on those that particularly caught my attention, starting with the use of a company logo, keywords and links in setting up the account. Work with an ‘ideal client’ in mind with a view to meeting their needs. Copyright is a two-way channel : one is reminded to be aware of ethics when identifying sources and to consider using watermarks to protect the integrity of one’s own material. Pins should include a variety of images such as infographics and text images. (Infographics are described as “a graphic, eye-catching visual representation of information, data or knowledge” and are a popular visual tool at present). The article refers to a number of products to assist in the creation of graphics. Keep a balance between one’s own content and information from other sources. Make an events board. These catch phrases should resonate : “become the go-to-source for information” ; “add value and engage”.
For a very nifty example of how Pinterest can be utilised, visit http://pinterest.com/barackobama/.
I still find internal search results a bit disconcerting. Compare the results from “law society” (somewhat haphazard results) with “kwazulu-natal” which lead me to websites ranging from holiday accommodation to the philharmonic orchestra. These are of course entirely dependent on how Pinterest users collate and link their pins but we are sure to see huge improvements as people become familiar with the site.
My seasonal wish is that the potential fires you up as much as it has me.
2 Just Pin It : the Pinterest Lifestyle Infographic / Modea
3 Who’s using Pinterest anyway? Zoe Fox. 15 June 2012
4 Pinterest and academia : [e-Learning webcast to take place on 18 September 2012] / American Library Association. Association of College and Research Libraries
5 The 10 commandments of using Pinterest for business
Opinions expressed in this column are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.