Discover your inside story with AncestryDNA®

October 9, 2012

Pinterest: Time Waster or Useful Utility?

"What is Pinterest? Why would I want to join? Isn't it just another time-waster?"

 These are questions I see being asked constantly about Pinterest. I'm a Pinterest user. I like it. You can find me there under my Twitter handle LorineMS or by searching for Olive Tree Genealogy.

Here's what the Pinterest site has to say about what Pinterest is for:
Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
Some of my Pinterest Boards
Once registered on Pinterest you simply create Boards and then you start pinning websites on your boards. I started off very simply by creating a Board for Genealogy Websites, Cooking, Technology and Antiques.
More of my Pinterest Boards
 As I filled those boards with my pins, I realized I needed to divide them into more precise categories such as Breakfasts, Slow Cooker Recipes, Veggies to Die For, and so on.  You can get as creative or plain as you want with your Board titles! Pinterest makes it easy to move your pins around if you find you want to create new boards with more specific topics.
One of my many cooking boards
 I use Pinterest to capture recipes that I don't have time to look through carefully. Because when I know I'm going to try a recipe I capture it on Evernote. But if I'm busy but I don't want to read through the recipe and think about whether or not I want to make it, Pinterest is the option I choose to save or bookmark it.
My Genealogy Board of Fav Websites
I also use Pinterest to organize my favourite genealogy websites. All I need to do is "pin" a website that I like. I do this by downloading the Pin It Button which I then can see on my Firefox browser. That means whenever I find a webpage I like (genealogy, cooking, technology, antiques, etc) I simply click on the button. Then I'm offered a choice of available photos from the webpage. I choose one and the photo plus the original site's URL are pinned to whatever board I choose.
Drop Down Menu with Pin It Button
Pinterest is very easy to use. There are drop down menus which allow you to quickly and easily create boards, move your pins from one board to another, reorganize the order of your boards on your Pinterest page, and so on.

Pinterest is also a social tool - you are meant to follow other people's boards and have them follow yours. I like following specific boards rather than every board one person has on their page. So I mainly follow genealogy and cooking boards that appeal to me.

Following other boards allows you to spot a yummy recipe or cool new genealogy website that you didn't know about. Then you repin it to your board of choice and you've got an automatic bookmark/reminder of that site.

There's a couple of drawbacks to Pinterest. You can't pin from Facebook. There may be other sites that are not Pinterest friendly. Some sites don't have any graphics that Pinterest recognizes so that blocks pinning unless you use a workaround I figured out.

Here's what you do if you want to pin a specific webpage but the graphics are not recognized by Pinterest. Copy the URL of the webpage you want to pin (highlight the URL and copy with your mouse).  Now poke around in the site until you find a graphic that Pinterest can use.
You can edit URLs in EDIT PIN mode
 Never mind if it's not the right URL to lead others to the page you want. Right now you just want the graphic. Pin that to your board. Now go in and EDIT that pin. You'll see a field where you can change the URL. This is where you will PASTE the URL you copied previously. Bingo you've got the graphic you want and the correct URL to take viewers directly the appropriate page.

So come and join me on Pinterest! It's fun, it's easy and it's such a cool way to  organize your favourite sites in a visual way.


Debi Austen said...

I signed up for Pinterest 6-9 months ago and my attempt at adding the "pin" board to my browser didn't work. So I gave up :-(

Jacqi Stevens said...

Lorinne, like you, I've thought Pinterest would be handy for genealogy, so I signed up several months ago. However, I heard the warning from several others that Pinterest is "addictive" and a "time sync" and I just didn't have the time to plow into it. So I guess you can say my Pinterest boards are like vacated properties--overgrown and not well maintained.

Regardless, I still think there is genealogy potential for Pinterest. It's just that it takes times and effort.

I'd love to explore what you've done with your boards. Maybe when I've absorbed enough of the visual approach (I'm not much of a visually-oriented person), the concept will help me curate my collection and find ways to "say" what I want to say visually.

It's a learning curve, but I think Pinterest has potential for genealogy and other non-traditional topics.

Pam said...

When I first got on Pinterest, I couldn't see the point. Early in the game, I discovered I could pin favorite websites to make them easy to find. It was convenient but was it really necessary? And then one of my much younger sisters-in-law started following me on Pinterest.

I long ago gave up on getting anyone in my family involved with my genealogy habit. Yet here was my sister-in-law looking at the genealogy sites I was pinning.

I realized that while I might never get her to go to Find A Grave to look at anything that I could get anything in front of her by simply pinning it on Pinterest. And that's the point.

If you want to involve a younger generation, you have to play in their playgounds. Pinterest is one of those playgrounds.

Jacqi Stevens said...

@Pam: you have a great point--especially that last sentence!--and it is something for all of us to keep in mind, especially as we bemoan the seeming "lack of interest" in genealogy by the "younger" generations.

Actually, that last sentence is a keeper. I'd like to be able to quote that!

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Jacqi, my boards are also ignored more than they should be. I am still figuring out how best to use Pinterest and am sure I will refine and develop new methods as I go along

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Pam - very good point. Wish my family would look at Pinterest so I could share family stories & found documents etc with them that way.

Excellent point about engaging the younger generation!

Pam said...

Jacqi: Please feel free to quote me.

Lorine: I read all of the Pinterest-related marketing literature on the net. They have lots of suggestions that tend to increase your followers.

Also, nice suggestion for the lack of graphic problem.