But as someone who works in public relations and marketing, I have to not only learn the latest and greatest tools and whether or not they can be effective means of communicating with key publics for my clients and workplace, I have to use them.
I cannot counsel anyone on the pros and cons of different communication vehicles unless I understand them on a personal level and as a consumer myself. Of course there is literature and case studies that also provide insight on how others are using new technologies, but it’s not as impactful as using them first-hand, and I’m certainly not as comfortable making recommendations unless I have personal experience as backing.
Thus my numerous online accounts, which I manage at work as well as at home, for myself as well as sometimes on behalf of my employer.
I don’t quite remember how I stumbled on Pinterest (or as I was calling it initially, “pin-interest”), but I was intrigued that I had to request a membership and that I had to be “considered” before given access to establish an account. My April 2011 request was confirmed May 3, and I was on board (literally).
On my other social media accounts, I watched Pinterest’s popularity unfold. Everyone was debating the ways it could be used, and I was really amused at how many people said they “didn’t understand it” or “didn’t know how to use it.” Amused because that person is usually me.
Top Three Reasons to Use Pinterest
This time around, I felt ahead of the game. Pinterest has been one of the most intuitive social media platforms to me, and I had ideas for how I wanted to use it from the very start. But I think that stems from a few of my personality quirks:
- I live and die by lists (clearly). I love building to do lists. I love cataloging what I’ve done, what I want to do, where I want to go, etc. My friends tend to be people who like to go out and explore their world, and they always have amazing suggestions for local restaurants, concerts, shows, festivals, travel destinations, movies, books and more. I love compiling these recommendations into lists of things to consider when we’re sitting around on a rainy day and want something to do or if we’re having family and friends in from out of town and want to take them to some local hot spots. The ability to tag things people suggest and house them for future reference via an online platform is right up my alley.
- I find that visual organization leads to personal organization. If you were to stop by my home without any notice, everything would be organized in every room of my house. I’m not saying it would all be swept and dusted and clean, but I am saying there would be no clutter and everything would be in its place. I know it drives the fiance mad that I’m always moving and organizing things that are lying around, but I can’t stand visual clutter. For me, it translates to internal clutter, and I cannot think straight. An unmade bed or pile of strewn mail will weigh on my mind and distract me until I tend to it. This is not a great personality characteristic, and it actually annoys a great many people, but physically organizing things seems to help me mentally organize things. It’s no surprise I am inclined toward platforms that allow me to organize my interests and activities in nice neat boards with very specific purposes.
- I find value in things that are practical. I already started putting together my Christmas gift list and also started to think ahead to things we might want to register for leading up to the wedding, and both lists have been difficult to compile because there is not a lot we need. I suppose I could try to come up with a list of things I/we want, but aside from books, there aren’t too many non-practical items I desire. I’m not really a “things” person–I am an “experiences” person. I would rather have tickets to a show, frequent flyer miles to plan a trip or restaurant coupons to try somewhere new. Something that will result in an experience I can share with others and remember later in life. I don’t have hobbies for the sake of having hobbies–I like doing things that have value or lead to some substantial result. Thus, a platform that allows me to compile things I might actually do, ideas I might actually implement around my house, places I might actually travel, gifts I might actually buy for others, books I might actually read, etc. holds a great deal of interest for me.
I also like that missing a couple hours, days or weeks of use does not impact my perceived success at using Pinterest. Our society has gotten to a point where everything has to be breaking news and if you miss the initial break you’re behind with no means of catching up. Twitter lets you see the latest news from around the world every second (check out election coverage hashtags today–you won’t even be able to keep up with the stream of coverage). Facebook lets you see the latest personal experiences your family and friends are going through (birthdays, weddings, births, divorce, death– some even tagged at the top of your page the instant they happen). If you’re out of the loop for even part of your day, it’s overwhelming to think about how you’ll catch up. Some people thrive on these types of platforms–I just end up tuning out because I have too many other things I have to do.
This “breaking news” and 24/7 phenomenon doesn’t apply to Pinterest. You can get on at any time and peruse what other people are pinning, target specific boards that hold your interest, ensure you’re only viewing pins relevant to you, and pin things from other sites as you come across them–no matter how old or timely they are. Everything gets to me on my time and according to my schedule. Sometimes I spend a few hours pinning ideas for our wedding, other times I go weeks without pinning a single thing. And that’s ok.
All of that being said, one of my first Pinterest boards–no surprise– was called On the Road, and I continue to use it to post images and links to articles about places I’ve been and places I’d like to go. I also just capture some really beautiful travel photography that represents experiences at different locations, local or otherwise. It’s a great way to catalog ideas for upcoming trips or even just to link to travel tips that might come in handy regardless of the destinations. Because the pin links to its source, the sky is the limit.
This board also serves as a very small way to tide over my wanderlust. I can pin resources in anticipation of my next adventure and feel like I’m working toward something even if the next trip is a ways out.
That said, it looks like the next bigger adventure will be Washington, D.C. next spring. Apropos I mention it today whilst the country is determining its fate via the voting polls. If you’re following my travel board, be prepared for an influx of D.C. ideas, and if you have some favorite spots we should explore, please send them my way. I’ll be sure to pin them soon!