Why should I care about Pinterest?

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This topic contains 32 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew Krzmarzick 8 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #160121

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    If you every get a chance to talk to the founder of GovLoop, Steve Ressler, about how he grew it to the community it is today, he’ll tell you that Twitter played a key role. In fact, he was one of the earliest adopters of Twitter and clearly saw how it could be leveraged to build communities.

    For several years, I was myopic about the different use cases of Twitter — whether it be personally or organizationally. I get it now. I completely see the uses cases for government organizations such as the State Department.

    ENTER Pinterest…

    I’m not schooled-up on Pinterest whatsoever. So why should I care? And of even more importance, why should government organizations care about this new social media tool as much as they do Twitter (and even Facebook)?

  • #160185

    We looked at it for growing GovLoop…and decided that, at least right now, if didn’t include our target audience. It might be something we look at in the future as it matures, but for now it’s not going to be somewhere that we put a lot of energy…but I could be convinced otherwise if someone makes a compelling case in this forum! 🙂

  • #160183

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    Andrew, I am with you. I don’t quite see the use cases for it yet. I am hoping someone more insightful than me can enlighten.

  • #160181

    Stephen Peteritas
    Participant

    You should care because you’ve got a wedding to plan and you have to find the perfect dress and flowers…

    In all seriousness though the main use of Pintrest (in my opinion) is to keep track of things and capture inspiration. We always talk about what other government organizations are doing (both good and bad) Pintrest allows you to capture that and revisit it at a more convenient time that way the idea or thought doesn’t slip through the cracks like it normally does.

    Also this is a copycat world that we live in and Pintrest plays to that… see something you like? Just pin it and recreate it yourself. Normally as an individual I’d have a problem copying somebody but as far as a government organization goes who cares if another organization is doing it? It’s not like the government gets profit or points for being original but rather gets props for being efficient and effective. I think that point more so than any other drive home why Pintrest might be more for the government org than the individual.

  • #160179

    Mark Sullivan
    Participant

    For my personal use, I’ve experimented with it as a tool for cataloging content (mostly articles) that I’ve found particularly interesting or inspirational. With other tools, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, I’ve found it difficult to keep track of ‘favorite’ content. Pinterest seems to better support this..

    Organizationally, I think it had some promise as a recruiting, public relations, or marketing tool. In particular, I think it could be an effective tool for natural resource and recreation agencies, but I haven’t seen it used extensively yet.

  • #160177

    Heather Coleman
    Participant

    Wait, how is it that your target audience doesn’t include women? Seriously though, I think it could be an interesting platform to test out some ideas – say a contest for a ticket to the Next Generation of Government Summit. Have users create a board “What Government Means to Me” and share pins that exemplify the best ideas they see in government and then share a link to their board on a GovLoop discussion thread.

    I’ve been kicking the tires of Pinterest for personal use (and some work) and although I am up to 261 followers, by far my most popular board is one that I allowed 25 of my followers to contribute to with whatever they felt like pinning, called “What Inspires You?”. It has 425 followers with only 51 pins on it. This is crazy to me, but says a lot about different ways to create a new community using the platform by allowing them to contribute and interact with each other.

    Another board I have points out how interesting human behavior is. I have a board called Details (do not follow) which is mainly for me to pin ideas for a book I want to put together. It has 335 followers (more than my overall profile). The pins on there are so unique to me that I’m not sure why they would be of interest to others, but apparently they are.

    I’m not saying to invest a lot of energy, but I would certainly keep an eye on it and test out some ideas. Track and see how much traffic it drives to the GovLoop community or featured blog posts (just be sure that they have a compelling graphic associated with them). Maybe share some fun photos from GovLoop headquarters or the past conferences as another way to recruit attendees.

  • #160175

    Valerie Kushnerov
    Participant

    You don’t necessarily have to care about it now, but it doesn’t hurt to reserve the name for later (as I recently read in a blag article). It’s better to adopt it early so that years from now, if it turns out to be a big thing, you have the name you want (as an agency).

    As a City, I have a few followers and some pins and we’re introducing it slowly. Personally, I use it often instead of bookmarking things because it’s visual. I’m not planning a wedding, but it is helpful for planning a trip, saving recipies and smart ideas, as well as things I find inspirational/motivation. I love Pinterest and find it a great way to be productive while I’m on hold with places like insurance and phone companies.

    Valerie

    http://www.pinterest.com/goleta

  • #160173

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    Great examples, Stephen. I really want to explore the idea of the government using it to share practices, artifacts and accomplishments.

  • #160171

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    Heather, I really like the idea about “pinning” exemplary ideas.

    That’s a fantastic tip. That example alone on the “What Inspires You?” post has convinced me to use it.

  • #160169

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    I’ve never found an app that’s really been good at organizing all the disparate, interesting content that I found. I never realized Pinterest could be used for that.

    I definitely can see how it could be used for recruiting purposes. We all know what issues the government has in recruiting good talent.

  • #160167

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    You’re probably right about it doesn’t hurt to get on the bandwagon in case it becomes the next Facebook or Twitter. Seems like it’s well on its way.

  • #160165

    Erica Bakota
    Participant

    I echo the comments about Pinterest being a forum for things that are truly inspirational. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” A single photograph can be inspiring in ways that online text never can.

    I use Pinterest as a “dream” to-do list: all the things I would love to do but aren’t on my practical to-do list for whatever reason. But the nature of Pinterest begs the question, what’s stopping you from doing all these things? Why aren’t you creating the fabulous piece of art or that culinary masterpiece? The participation aspect of Pinterest makes one realize that you should stop dreaming about implementing certain things and actually do them. It’s not a one-way inspirational site. It’s a multiway, crowd-sourced, participatory inspirational hotbed. That can be applied to any field you wish.

  • #160163

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    Erica, that’s a really, really good use case. They say the best ways to achieve your goals is to visualize them.

  • #160161

    Sandy Heierbacher
    Participant

    I’m going to start following you, Heather! 🙂

  • #160159

    Heather Coleman
    Participant

    Great! Thank you 🙂 I look forward to sharing with you.

  • #160157

    Sandy Heierbacher
    Participant

    Couple other thoughts…

    One of the limitations of Pinterest is that you can’t create a pinboard and then open it up for anyone to pin something to. THAT would open up lots of possibilities for engagement (for instance, a gov agency could invite people to share what they love about their community, or the coolest things they’ve bought at local stores). Instead, as Heather illustrated above, you need to create a pinboard, and then add some of your existing friends individually so they can also pin to that pinboard. Generally, people just pin to their own pinboards anyway, so I haven’t yet found that adding some friends to a pinboard actually gets others pinning to your boards. Plus, Pinterest discourages doing that in any larger scale by having you type their names into a field (you can’t just look at your list of friends and check some/all of them, which would make collaborative pinboards much, much easier).

    That said, one of the great things about Pinterest is that you can link it directly to your Facebook account, so if you have a lot of friends/colleagues on Facebook already, it’s much easier to get lots of people to follow your boards on Pinterest. As my Facebook friends join Pinterest, they’re given a list of their Facebook friends to add, and can just “add all” if they want. I guess because of this, most of my Boards have over 500 followers at this point. So unlike Twitter, you don’t have to completely start from scratch building our community.

    I use Pinterest mostly to share products I think are cool, but I have a few pinboards that are work-related. I use my “social media stuff to check out” board to just bookmark things to go back to related to social media, and I appreciate that my “things to post on the NCDD blog” pinboard has a lot of followers, so even if I never get to posting them on our blog, I feel like people see them!

    I’m at Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/heierbacher, by the way.

  • #160155

    Sandy Heierbacher
    Participant

    One thing I’ve noticed on Pinterest is that people who are using the site well for non-commercial purposes (info sharing, marketing for their organization, etc.) are doing it by using Infographics. Here’s a good example of an infographic: http://pinterest.com/pin/112308584427801270/

    Basically, they’re just images that organize and present information in a much more visual way than we tend to do in blog posts, on forums, etc. They’re very bloggable too, though, as they fit nicely into most blog formats. So I’d suggest that government agencies, NGO’s, etc. think about what they want the public to see/know about them that can best be translated into a visual graphic — and who can make that happen for them. Then pin those infographics and see what happens.

  • #160153

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    I’m a big of the infographics. We weren’t built for text; we were built to evade predators, so tools which turn an endless ocean of info into something we can visually process are good!

  • #160151

    Sandy Heierbacher
    Participant

    Here, here!

  • #160149

    Vanessa Vogel
    Participant

    I agree with these comments. Pinterest is growing. While you can plan your future wedding or your own personal recipe book, it can also be a great venue to broaden the Govloop community.

  • #160147

    Sandy Heierbacher
    Participant

    After seeing this discussion, I did a little experiment in Pinterest. I created a new pinboard called “What’s happening in public engagement?” and invited about 30 of my pinterest friends to join me as co-pinners (there’s really no name for this; it just says “who can pin?” and you type in your friends’ names one by one). I chose people who tend to be network leaders in my field, so they should already be seeing and sharing these types of posts elsewhere.

    I added this description:

    “Let’s experiment with a joint pinboard where we can post what we feel are the most important happenings (news, resources, events, whatever) in public engagement and community problem solving. I’m inviting some of my friends from the field to join me as pinners, but let me know ([email protected]) if you want added too!”

    So far, about 10 of my pinners have accepted my offer to co-pin on this pinboard. None of them have pinned anything. I’ve pinned 3 things to the board.

    Do any of you have ideas for what I should do next? I don’t have tons of time to devote to experimenting in pinterest at the moment, but I’d like to see if there’s any way to get a joint, professional pinboard going with minimal effort.

    I guess I’ll have to email my joint pinners and encourage them to pin? I don’t think there’s a “send a message” option in pinterest.

  • #160145

    Sandy Heierbacher
    Participant

    Oh by the way, the pinboard is up at http://pinterest.com/heierbacher/what-s-happening-in-public-engagement/ and I’d be happy to add any of you who want to join the experiment.

  • #160143

    Heather Coleman
    Participant

    I’m not a huge fan of the way Pinterest does the collaborate feature. You might want to ask one of the users what the email notification said. I don’t think there is a way to customize it and some users might not know what it is. I had a friend that wondered why this new board showed up on her profile and how others were pinning to it. So if it is something that they might wonder about a separate email to give them a heads up about what you are trying to do and how they can participate would be good. Might also encourage them to start pinning, which will encourage others to follow and request ability to pin, etc. Once it gets going, it might surprise you where it leads. I try to comment/like when others contribute to a collaboration board so they feel recognized, but that’s about all of the maintenance I do. I have removed contributors who weren’t participating after a length of time also. I really want the “send a message” option in Pinterest. I can’t wait to see where this goes for you!

  • #160141

    Robert Bacal
    Participant

    Actually, our main advantage over the other creatures on this earth is words. But don’t let that get in the way. <grin><sigh> of saying we aren’t built for it. Uh…well. Actually, we ARE.

  • #160139

    Sandy Heierbacher
    Participant

    Thanks for these ideas, Heather! I just invited you to join the pinboard (if “join” is the right term; probably not). If you do get an email notification about this, would you please forward it to me at [email protected]? I’d like to see if it includes the pinboard’s description or not.

  • #160137

    Corey McCarren
    Participant

    Whenever I see this topic what goes through my head is “You probably shouldn’t.” I don’t think it really has that much to offer in terms of increasing services of government. I can think of a couple agencies that might make use of it, such as NASA showing off the latest technology or a Parks & Recreation Department looking to show how they’re cleaning up parks. Other than that though, eh.

    I’m not against Pinterest, but I think it would be more useful as a periphery to Facebook or something than a platform all its own.

  • #160135

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    I think you’re right — good as a Facebook periphery.

  • #160133

    Ilona Lantos
    Participant

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for your example. I also collect inforgraphics, on Pinterest itself.

    http://pinterest.com/myweb2learn/pinterest-infographics/

    I also have a pinboard about my youtube video tutorials (I am a trainer).

    http://pinterest.com/myweb2learn/flashcards/

    Ilona

  • #160131

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    That’s pretty good idea — collecting infographics. Perfect fit for Pinterest.

  • #160129

    Ilona Lantos
    Participant

    The US State Department is on Pinterest, and some embassies.

    http://pinterest.com/usdos/following/

    Definetly a branding, marketing tool. you can create “booklets” (aka pin boards) of pictures around a topic, concept, ideology. Link to a page, blog, wiki to learn more. A visual tool for many things.

    You can also pin videos.

    Worth experimenting. Another new Beta is “bo.lt”, similar to Pinterest, but instead of pictures/videos, you collect web pages. You actually archive them, so even if the website goes away, you have a copy. Interesting concept.

    CAUTION: Be aware the COPYRIGTH! I researched this issues, my collected articles are here: http://www.scoop.it/t/pinterest-copyright

  • #160127

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    State Department always seems to be on top of the social media tools. Given their mission, certainly makes sense. Thanks for the comment.

  • #160125

    Vanessa Vogel
    Participant

    As a graphic designer, I too have been collecting graphs, infographics and other design elements that inspire me for my job. Not only is it a great way to organize design that inspires you, but it is also a good way to connect with other people (as yourself) who are pinning similar things. Great idea to have a pinboard strictly about youtube tutorials! here’s my link…

    http://pinterest.com/mynamesvanessa/work-inspiration/

  • #160123

    Joy Gatewood
    Participant

    NASA does use Pinterest. Their use of it is interesting – one sees the pinterest “Pinit” logo on pages and underneath images.

    Pinterest is a fascinating medium for those who believe that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps that’s why it works so well for NASA – try to describe a galaxy 🙂 and you realize how empty words can be without an image. Pinterest is a stunning example of the power of visual rhetoric.

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