Pinning in Government: The Pinterest Revolution takes hold? Plus Your Weekend Reads

Welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

On the DorobekINSIDER this week:

  • Government Conferences Attacked: Is the Solution Virtual? Government conferences are under fire. Scandals, budgets and time are all a factor. So what is the future of government conferencing? Are in person events a thing of the past? We look at the emerging hybrid or virtual conference.
  • Post Conference-Gate – Why Government’s Not Going: Fewer people are going to conferences. And we know why. But how do differentiate between the necessary conferences and the fluff. How do you change people’s perspectives on government conference. How do you combate the climate? We get insights from an industry expert.
  • 10 Trends for Program Managers – Are You A Secret PM? Budgets and time are tight, so one of the trickle down effects has been the evolution of the program manager. Now more than ever, people are taking on the role of program manager with little or no training. So how is it working?
  • Your Thrift Savings Plan: By the Numbers: 2012 was a banner year for the Thrift Savings Plan. Funds across the board saw marked improvements. But do you know what each fund actually does? Insights from the TSP’s Kim Weaver.

Issue of the Week: Government and Pinterest

The General Services Administration has approved the terms of service for Pinterest—meaning that federal agencies could start to use the site to engage with citizens. (Click here for our interview with GSA’s Betsey Steele.)

But what will that new social media tool actually do for citizen engagement?

Gadi Ben-Yuda is the innovation and social media director at the IBM Center for the Business of Government. He has posted his 10 ideas for government pinterest right here. Check it out. And he told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekISIDER program that Pinterest is in some ways a visual twitter.

“Pinterest in a lot of ways is like Twitter. But the big difference is that with Twitter you are sharing text. By contrast what Pinterest does is share a little image. People can then click on the image and see it blown up and additional textual context. They can then share that image with their followers by pinning it. Basically it’s the difference between scanning text with your eyes and scanning pictures,” said Ben-Yuda.

Smithsonian Example

“The Smithsonian has a number of different boards. For example it has one with a picture of Rosie the Riveter for Women’s history month and one of Harriet Tubman for Black history month. Both pages have been pinned over a hundred times.”


Similar to the Smithsonian the Postal Service has pages dedicated to its stamp collection. For example it has pages of the 50 years of Christmas stamps, the Love Series and Stamps for Children featuring bugs bunny and the Incredibles. If you are looking for pictures of stamps it is easier to scan through a Pinterest stream than a Twitter one.”

Pros and Cons

Pro: If you are looking for something visual and you don’t know exactly what it might be then you can go to Pinterest and search. It’s much more visually appealing.

Con: It is not a great place for deep engagement or rapid response. It is much more niche than Twitter or Facebook.

Weekend Reads:

  • TheAtlantic: Where ‘Snail Mail’ Beats the Electronic Alternatives
  • Economist: Has the ideas machine broken down?
  • McKinsey Quarterly: Leadership lessons from the Royal Navy
    • This branch of the British armed services consciously fosters cheerfulness and nourishes its collective memory. Business executives should take note
  • TheAtlantic: What Twitter Really Looks Like
  • Mars Rover: 9 Years and Still Going
  • Business Insider: Your Attitude Determines Whether Or Not You’ll Succeed

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Diane Lucas

Sorry, but I can’t figure out what the big deal about Pinterest is – I looked at it, signed up for it, and can find no value in it – for my own interests, no less for the Federal Government. Maybe I’m getting old….