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Pinterest – making sure we’re part of online communities!

December 1, 2013
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If You’re Waiting for a Sign This is It.

Part two in our series about social media and how to ensure that folks we care about are part of online communities.

Pinterest is all about “pinnables”!

Incredibly, my little sister and other people not very interested in technology got interested in Pinterest before I did.  I figured it was a place to collect recipes and ideas for crafts.  And then one of my friends started collecting a kind of “mood book” of ideas for her daughter’s wedding.  And then I realized that many people who want to make a plan for redecorating their rooms or homes or designing their gardens or planning a perfect holiday use Pinterest for that.

Shortly after that I fell in love.  It’s just such a generous platform full of things people want to share.   On Pinterest you can find pretty much anyone who loves what you love, and pictures of whatever that is, and links, and various ideas about it.

Once you have made an account you can go into the search box and enter whatever it is that interests you.   Suggestions will pop up that might or might not work for you.  When I enter “art” it looks like this:

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I can click on any of those things or I can keep typing.   I could type “art that is about rock music” and get more specific.  Or I can just wander.

Each thing that I hover over with my cursor will give me a choice about whether I want to “re-pin” it – if I want to save it, I have to create folder and name it something.   Here are some of the choices around “art”:

As I repin any of these to my own folder about “art” I can choose to subscribe to that person’s pins, either to everything they do or to one set of interests.

Here’s what I get if I search on Spectrum Press:

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Spectrum Press doesn’t have a whole lot of information pinned to it – and yet we have 15 followers already.   Within a few minutes I can add way more information.

Like this:

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That took about 15 minutes!   If you go to “Spectrum Press” on Pinterest you could now add to these pictures or you could repost them as part of your own pages.  Why does this matter?  If we are serious about getting out the message that people with intellectual disabilities are literate, have stories they want to share, want to be dealt with as individuals and are leaders in our communities – then this is one way to do that.   It also might lead to some sales of books or some inquiries about doing workshops, which is important for us as a social enterprise that employees eight people, half of whom have disabilities, and gives employment to many more.

Here’s what I get if I search on “disability”:

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My focus is on person centred approaches to people with intellectual disabilities – and a lot of these ideas aren’t about how I want the folks I care about to be presented (some are great!).   So you can see why you or I might want to “pin” other things about disability to make sure that the messages you want to see online are included.

I asked my friends and colleagues on Facebook what they liked about Pinterest – some teacher friends found it helpful for finding resouces for their students, particularly for arts and crafts; other friends liked it for the recipes; some friends found it helpful as a way of collecting ideas about some upcoming event that was important to them – a party, a wedding, or a holiday to somewhere they didn’t know about – people from all over the world tagged their pins with information about that place.   Some people collected art, or designs that were in a certain palette of colours that they could refer to for inspiration later.

As a parting thought – here’s “chocolate”!  One of (nearly) everyone’s favourite subjects!  I particularly like “Chocolate doesn’t ask silly questions, Chocolate Understands” but you can see there are lots of choices:

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And lots more chocolate!

How are you using Pinterest?

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