Wow, Day 4 of 5 Days of Social Media is already here! I am loving, not only blogging this series, but reading many of the other series in this Blog Hop with the Homeschool Crew!
If you're joining me today for the first time, I'd love for you to click over and read the first 3 entries in this series:
Today, we'll be taking a look at my new favorite obsession, Pinterest!
Pinterest is a relatively new website that allows you to organize and share things you find around the web. Think about a room with bulletin boards hanging on every wall. You might have one board for recipes, another for homeschool curriculum and yet another for decorating ideas. As you find pictures, recipes, or magazine articles about these things, you clip them out and pin them to the most appropriate bulletin board.
Now make those bulletin boards virtual, and all of those pictures, recipes and articles amazing things you've found on the internet and you have a good picture of what Pinterest looks like. Here's a print screen of some of my "boards":
Of course, this series is about Social Media, so you can probably guess that there is much more to Pinterest than just finding things that interest you and pinning them on a virtual bulletin board for safe-keeping. And you would be correct there. Just like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest enables you to follow others and to be followed by others. You can choose to follow all of the boards of someone else, or just one board you find interesting. This enables you to see what other people have found worth keeping. There's also a real-time feed where you see a compilation of items folks are currently pinning to their boards. If you find something fascinating and wish to hold onto it, you may "repin" it onto one of your boards, or you can just "like" it, the way you would a status on Facebook. Items you "like" are searchable as well. There is also a comment feature.
You probably also noticed right way, in the photo above, that all of the pins are pictorial. When you click on the photo, you will be connected to the website that has been pinned. This is important to know. If a web article, website or blog post doesn't have a picture to capture you won't be able to pin it. This will be important for you to remember later, when we discuss how to make Pinterest work for you. Having pictures makes Pinterest more visually appealing and you get a much better idea of what it is you're looking at. This alone make Pinterest superior to simple website bookmarking.
After reading so far, I'm sure that some of the uses for Pinterest seem obvious to you. Of course, having all of these cool things you find on the web pinned categorically, so that you can easily find them later, would be the most obvious use. But let me share with you some purposes you might not immediately consider.
1. Blog promotion. Like I said before, this series is about social media, so we'll begin here. If you blog, and you're hoping to increase traffic to your blog, then begin pinning your blog posts. This is where the comment about pictures I made above comes into play. Inserting pictures into your blog posts make them fun and intererting anyway, but now you have another reason. You want to be able to pin your blog posts, and have other people repin them, so that others can repin their repins and so on and so forth. Having a picture within your post, that gives a clue to the content, increases that chance someone reading what you have to say, and beginning that repinning process. Creating a little button with the title of your blog post is an even better idea. Here's an example of a button I made for one of mine:
If you make what they're clicking on more obvious, they're more likely to click. I made this button with PicMonkey, but you could easily make a button using any photo editor or Paint. Oh, and one more thing! Every time you pin something, Pinterest gives you the option to tweet it or share it on Facebook as well! Triple exposure friends.
2. Lesson planning. Pinterest is a great way to organize all of those resources you plan to use. Create a pinboard for each subject and then begin the search for fun crafts, projects, lapbooks, science experiements, art, online games, and printables. The possibilities are endless. You can even pin by month instead of subject and then each month just go to that month's board and begin gathering what you need for all of the incredible ideas you have pinned!
3. Create or enhance unit studies. This is fast becoming my favorite use for Pinterest. Taking the lesson planning idea a bit further, I recently set up a Pinterest page for my son, to use for his unit studies. For example (and here's where repinning the pins of other people is really useful), we have been working through Amanda Bennett's Elections Unit Study. In preparation, I found several websites Ben could use to find more information. Because Amanda's unit are divided into 4 weeks, I created 4 boards, one for each week. I also went to Amanda's Pinterest page and found her board on Elections and a couple more fun ideas for our study. Lastly, I used the Pinterest search feature to find even more. Everything was pinned to their respective weeks, and Ben was able to easily find each website as he worked through the study. He loved it!
4. Collaborate with other homeschoolers. Pinterest has a collaborative feature that is really cool. When you begin a pinboard, you can add other members as collaborators, so that they can then add pins to the same board. If you're in a homeschool group, co-op, or group blog, this is something you'll want to use for sure. We use this feature for the Homeschool Share Blog. Whenever we have an idea for a post, we begin a pinboard and begin gathering resources for our readers, to enhance the unit studies we feature. This has proved a very positive feature for us!
5. Showcase your students artwork, lapbooks, and notebooks. There is a feature where you can just upload photos and pin those, rather than pinning an existing website. Create a pinboard to show off those things you wish to remember, but can't always keep. Science experiments, lapbooks, artwork, anything you can take a picture of can can be pinned. It's like a little online scrapbook!
I'm sure there are many other uses for Pinterest, but hopefully, this will get you started by whetting your appetite a bit. This truly is one of my favorite resources. And not just for homeschooling. I have found everything from recipes to decorating tips, beauty tips, and ways to recycle items around the house. I heart Pinterest!
I also want to introduce you to a cool little app, called Pin Bookmarklet. This is a tool you can install onto your tool bar, so that when you wish to pin an article (or your blog post!), all you have to do is click a little "pin" it button. You can also add a Pinterest social media icon and "pin-it" button directly to your blog, making it easy for readers find you on Pinterest or pin your blog posts to their own boards. There's also an iPhone app! You can find all of these tools here.
One thing about Pinterest you need to know. You cannot just join. You must be invited. If you wish to have an invitation, just shoot me an email and I'll be happy to send you one. the little email at the top of my blog page, in the row of social media icons, is the best way to do that. If you have a Pinterest account or decide to set one up, please share your link with me so I can come and follow you. If you'd like to follow me, where I also collaborate with Homeschool Share and the TOS Homeschool Crew, you'll find me here.
Join me tomorrow for my last installment in this 5 Days of Social Media Blog Hop. I'll be telling you all about another cool new tool, Instagram.
Now, it's time to hop on over to the anchor post for this series at the Homeschool Crew blog. Nearly 70 other bloggers are sharing their interests and passions with the blog world. You can click on the button below to get right there!
Ben and Me on Facebook!