Staying up-to-date with developments in the social-networking world is no easy task. Facebook engages most of our oxygen/eyeballs, but plenty of other services are available. Most of them are designed around a particular kind of presentation rather than a particular set of topics or audiences (Of course, certain kinds of presentations − photos, for instance − will draw markedly from certain kinds of audiences). Part of our vocation and business mission is to keep tabs on such evolution so you don’t have to (quite as much). This week, we want to focus on Interest in Pinterest has exploded only in the last few weeks, so let’s catch up with that one first.and Scoop.it, with a How-To follow up on Scoop.it later this week.
The interface of Pinterest is rather like a corkboard/pinboard, albeit one designed by a person with OCD: the grid of one’s ‘board’ can be filled with images and snippets of text of one’s interests and/or themes. One can then share the link of one’s board with others, as well as offer other access to your board. Their mission: “Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.”
An individual or organization can ask for an invitation for an account. Pinterest is free yet defines itself as ‘in development,’ so signing up is not yet open to all (Perhaps the programmers need to limit resources; perhaps they are trying to drum up interest like Googe+ tried to do last year.). Once you have an account, you canand each account can have numerous boards. Your nonprofit would best be served having a few boards specific to each issue or event or campaign that you want your followers to be aware of. Note that you are not (necessarily) creating content so much as sharing relevant content you have collected around the internet.
To pin topics relevant to your organization’s board, you need to download/drag the ‘Pin It’ bookmarklet, which will plant itself in your Bookmarks/Favorites collection (For convenience, put it on your always-visible Bookmark Bar so it’s always in reach.). That button will pin the image and it’s URL to your board, and allow you to write a brief description of its relevance for your audience. Social-Networking maven Beth Kanter has a board containing examples of infographics for nonprofits, which should give you some ideas not only on what a board looks like to the larger world but also on the sorts of information your nonprofit should be sharing on your board.
Your nonprofit should be creating content, of course. And you can encourage others to share your materials on their boards by. You include your URL and any description you want for your pins, and copy the auto-generated code into your website (see screenshot to the right). Others will create boards with themes that you can not readily control, but your colleagues should decide what themes/issues you want to focus on and create appropriate boards. People can decide whether to follow any and all boards you are developing, or to follow a specific board or two.
Social media can quickly devolve to social noise, though, so you don’t want to give your constituents (and potential donors of time and/or money) reason to be confused or overwhelmed by your pin board (which is why a bit of OC behavior can really help online organization). Consider themes before your invitation arrives, and stick to them. Pinterest is not an especially demanding platform because you can organize a really engaging board without producing its specific contents.
Tomorrow we’ll turn to Scoop.it!, which resembles Pinterest in many ways but which has its own skill set that your nonprofit or charity should be tapping into.