Pinterest started two years ago sort of like a bulletin board for sharing ideas. In the last year, it has become a growing addiction amongst people for sharing ideas and good resources.
Newly engaged members are sharing wedding planning ideas, moms/dads are sharing parenting resources and ideas, teachers are using it to brainstorm lesson plans, and corporations are all beginning to take advantage of Pinterest. It’s much more visual than other social networks and has all of the elements that many of the other ones do. You can comment on other people’s pins, you can re-share their pins, and you can “network” with both people you know and those you don’t because of a common interest.
How does Pinterest work?
1. Right now Pinterest is only by invitation. In today’s world everything starts that way. Gmail, Facebook, etc. You can request an invite or you can be invited by somebody else.
2. Once you are in the pinning begins.
Pinning & Repinning
- You create boards and then you put pins on those boards.
What’s a Board?
- The topics for the boards can be general like food, lesson planning, or adventures. Or they can be very specific like 100th day of school, presidents, etc.
What’s a Pin?
- Then comes putting the pins onto the boards. There are three ways you can add pins yourself.
- You can Upload a photo of something you want to share. Perhaps something you have done. Then write a description. There is a character limit of 500 characters, but most things you can stay within that count.
- The other method is putting in a website address (like if you want to link to your blog or another website). It will look for images on that site and then you write a description and pin.
- The other is by adding the pin it button to your bookmark bar and as your are searching the web when you have something to share you can click on that link. Here are directions on how to add it.
Following and Repinning
- The other part is finding people to follow and repinning items.
- When you find someone you can either follow all of their boards or you can select individual boards to follow.
- After you have found people you can not only see what they have been pinning, but also can repin items they have shared. When you repin, you’ll have the same 500 character count and you can either leave their description or create your own. You can also tag people in a post.
- You can also like items without repinning. This means that they won’t be categorized, but just show up under your likes.
- If you link your Facebook or Twitter Account with Pinterest then you can find people on those networks to follow.
- Pinterest is sort of like Social Bookmarking meets Twitter, but visual.
How is Pinterest being used?
Zoomsphere did a look into the top brands using Pinterest.
Examples of Schools using Pinterest
Denver University- College http://pinterest.com/ducollege/ and Graduate School http://pinterest.com/dugrad/
They have created boards to help create collaboration and explore inspiration for their students. They explore showing off faculty accomplishments and research.
George Fox University – http://pinterest.com/gfu/
They have used it to visually show pictures of their campus, tell stories about who they are, feature students, and feature alumni.
Drake University – http://pinterest.com/drakeuniversity/
They use Pinterest to show pictures of bulldogs (their mascot), room decor ideas, and study aboard ideas. They are not only using it to feature the school, but engage their audiences. They provide information for current students like Study aboard ideas, but also take into account the perspective student and what the accomplishments of the school are. It’s a hard balancing act of engaging both potential, current, and past constituents. They are following the model that it’s not just about who we are, which makes Pinterest so engaging.
What are some of the ways that schools can use Pinterest?
Teachers are beginning to use Pinterest as a way of brainstorming and collaborating ideas for specific topics or ideas. If you wanted an idea of how to celebrate the 100th day of school then there a tons of boards with content about the 100th day. Or perhaps specific topic areas such as the Harlem Renaissance or Colonial America.
With your students
You can also use it as a teaching tool to provide specific information in a visual way or a supplemental resources for projects or topic areas.
To Get the ideas flowing:
Think about the kinds of things you are posting. You want it to be engaging to drive people to follow you and repin what you have to post.
Share helpful information to parents and students. College counseling could share resources to Gap Year Experiences, Applying to Colleges, Colleges Students have been accepted to or Financial Aid. Think about the information that your parents and students might like to see and share that.
Share information about your school that you post on your website or if it is posted elsewhere. Pinterest is built on visuals so make sure there is a visual element.
Showcase your faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni. Don’t feature all of them, but feature things that make them stand out or are interesting. Pinterest is not about self-promotion, but is rather about sharing ideas. So showcase things you think others would find interesting. Maybe did you knows? or Unknown things about your School.
What are some of the advantages of using Pinterest?
Engagement with other people:
- As a school you are building relationships with other schools, students, parents. You have the opportunity to build links back to your website and drive traffic. You also have the potential to reach audiences you might not have reached in normal methods.
- Teachers have the opportunity to meet other teachers who are teaching the same topics or are interesting in the same kinds of things and build collaborations that might not have existed before.
- Schools can build recognition.
Pinterest is growing in usage everyday. Some say it’s just another fad that won’t stay very long, but it is the fastest growing social media site. How do you think your school could use it? How can you remain engaging?