Valerie Kittell Pinterest: Not Just for Academic and Public Libraries?
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Thursday, 18th October 2012 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added

By Valerie Kittell


Information professionals might consider how they could use Pinterest in their organisations to reach internal or external audiences, drawing on examples from special libraries, museums, and even public libraries. Could a high-tech company, for example, use Pinterest effectively to post pictures of the company's products?


The relatively new social networking site Pinterest has gathered steam. In fact, the Los Angeles Times reported in June 2012 that Pinterest has grown over four thousand per cent in the last year, “far outpacing its competitors”. USA Today has called Pinterest’s growth in popularity as “meteoric”; the Huffington Post says it is “mindblowing”; Mashable proclaims it “astonishing”. And while Pinterest growth seems to have levelled for now, a ComScore report reveals that Pinterest has over 10,000 distinct users and is the third most popular social media site, behind Facebook and Twitter.

With all the hype surrounding Pinterest, information-related organisations should consider using Pinterest as part of their overall social media presence. Pinterest is a visual site, focused solely on images and video. If the organisation has goals that can be met using Pinterest, then it may be worth the time invested.

As special libraries are varied, their purposes on Pinterest will vary as well. Historical societies, special collections libraries, specialised study libraries, state libraries, corporate libraries, US Presidential libraries and association libraries can tailor their boards to their specific audiences. Random House, Inc.’s Library Marketing department, for example, pins images on boards such as “Banned Books Week” and “ALA Anaheim 2012”. Their audience includes school librarians, vendors, historical societies, public libraries, academic libraries and individuals.

Museums of all sizes use Pinterest to generate enthusiasm for their collections; this can lead to increased foot traffic and sales in online gift shops. The Royal Ontario Museum, for example, has pins that click to events that may interest pinners. Museums can study Pinterest usage in the country and region and find out how popular their subject matter is on Pinterest. This could be done informally or via companies that provide such services, such as Pinerly.

So, corporate information professionals – take a look around Pinterest. Determine what’s working for similar organisations and how you may improve on what they have. Consider your goals that may be met through Pinterest. Be creative and start pinning.

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