[Published in the OSALL newsletter of May 2012]
One could be forgiven for feeling that social media has peaked and is unlikely to produce anything to further pique our curiosity. Therefore I didn’t take much note when ‘Pinterest’ icons started appearing at the end of news articles and elsewhere on the Internet. In fact, I didn’t even read up about it immediately but it is now obvious that it has indeed brought something new to the drawing board and fills a niche.
Pinterest has been around for a little over two years but by August 2011 Times magazine included it in the best websites of that year and by December it ranked among the top ten social network sites. It’s another story of small makes good which I always find heart-lifting.
The best introduction would be to visit the homepage and look around for yourself. I anticipate a good many happy hours of discovery ahead and there is sure to be plenty to grab the attention of even the most jaded eye as one delves into it.
Pinterest is a collection of ‘pinboards’. Those who have signed up can load their own material or link to other websites (hence the burgeoning number of ‘pinterest’ icons to be seen around). Links can be to video clips or anything else of interest. Individual users create new boards for different themes which has made this a seriously nifty way of sharing one’s own hobbies and finding others with similar interests. Tweets sending readers to Pinterest boards are becoming increasingly frequent and are a good way of drawing attention to less obvious information. Visitors are able to add comments and ‘re-pinning’ of existing pins is accepted, expected and encouraged.
There is a system of etiquette to be followed. Wikipedia provides a useful general background1.
Pinterest did bump its head on copyright issues to begin with but has accepted legal advice and adapted its terms and conditions accordingly.
Getting started is as easy as asking a friend who is already in the network to send an invitation ; in my case I requested an invitation directly from Pinterest. This arrived by email within about twenty-four hours. I am still browsing around acquainting myself with the hows, wheres and whys but suspect it could easily become a consuming hobby in its own right.
It is however so much more. Do read the article Pinterest as a learning tool : do the two compute?2. The potential for sharing information and communicating it to others is immense. Considering the attention the role of mobile phones as tools for educators is currently receiving, it will be more than surprising if Pinterest doesn’t grow exponentially in the next couple of years.
I hope to write a follow-up article later in the year once my pinboard/s are up and running and would love to hear from others in this regard. Shall we make it a challenge to create our own interest groups and share our experiences in a few months?
In the meantime, do visit Pinterest ; you are sure to love it. Here’s a link to start you off : http://pinterest.com/search/?q=library. It’s already lead me to http://pinterest.com/pin/108508672242125310/ which has inspired some home-improvement ideas and then I need to show Lydia and . . .
1 Wikipedia. Pinterest
2 Pinterest as a learning tool : do the two computer? / Charlie Osborne. 24 April 2012
Opinions expressed in this column are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.