The recent hype around Pinterest, which those in the know will know is not a ‘new’ site (it was launched in March 2010), has been fascinating to observe. With people declaring they’re ‘not pinterested’, brands being lauded for their use of it and many people sitting on the fence, to coin a phrase, it’s certainly a marmite of a site.

If you’ve not come across Pinterest, in a nutshell, it is a website where you can create ‘boards’ – think mood boards – and once you’ve installed a ‘pin it’ button on your computer you’re able to grab images you like from websites and create your own compilations to share with others. It describes itself as an online pinboard whose mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting” via a global platform of inspiration and idea sharing.

It is similar to Wists, which has been described as Pinterest six years too early. It’s based on a social image bookmarking system, which allows users to save images and categorise them on different boards under categories such as film, home design, kids, fashion etc.

So if you were researching ideas for say a bedroom you wish to decorate and you knew you wanted it in 1920s style, you can search on Pinterest to see boards that other people have pulled together which then link to the relevant websites the images were sourced from.

I signed up a couple of months ago and started to create some boards based on my professional and personal interests, so I have an internal comms one, social media, and also some boards related to shoes and shabby chic home items.

Making it work for me
Until I discover the benefit or potential of a new website for myself, simply reading persuasive articles about why X site is as good as Y doesn’t work for me. I like Pinterest because I think visually, so I’m aware that looking at a screen full of images is far more engaging to me than a spreadsheet or swathe of text.

I realised that the wealth of infographics currently whizzing around the internet work really well in this space, and captured them in my social media board. Being able to spot at a glance stats, graphs and facts makes me more likely to read the content rather than pages of case studies and figures. I like the fact you can choose whether to explore the content in more depth – by clicking the image and being taken to the source site, or to simply skim the surface and take them at face value.

The way Pinterest works means that other people can ‘like’ your pins, ‘re-pin’ them on their own boards and also share them via other sites such as Facebook or Twitter. I view my boards as a useful resource for me – I like gathering information in one place – and if people then decide it is valuable for them too, it is an added bonus. For this reason I don’t link my Pinterest account to my Twitter or Facebook profiles, as I see it as a personal resource for me, which is open for others to view should they wish to.

Pinterest and internal comms
I created an internal comms board and have found it a useful way to capture my recent blog posts in one place and as a result new readers have discovered Diary of an internal communicator via Pinterest (hello if this includes you). Part of the reason I changed my blog design recently to include the images at the top right hand side of the page was to appeal to people who think visually like me and with the word cloud now a staple of my blog diet thanks to Wordle, every topic has the potential to have an image.

Are you using Pinterest within your organisation? I’d love to know if you are and highlight it, do please get in touch. I have been looking for other internal comms professionals using the site, Ive not come across very many and ‘followed’ those I’ve found. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has started to use Pinterest and has created a ‘We love public relations’ board, which currently has 425 pins (images) on it and 422 followers. Ragan Communications has lots of good boards on there too including internal communications, public relations and social media and is worth checking out.

I wonder over time whether the site will continue to grow and develop or if it will gather dust and become another has-been. What do you think of Pinterest? Have you used it? Does it work well for you? Do feel free to comment below. Thanks as ever for stopping by, Rachel.

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