Pinterest is a new type of social media website that serves as a virtual bulletin board (or "pinboard"). It is a place where web content can be shared. This unique site is changing the way people share web content related to personal interests. Pinterest uses a design style that relies on images rather than text. Pinterest can help your career. We'll explain how below. Pinterest members (referred to as "Pinners") gather and share images of interesting things that they find online, creating "Pins." Pinners can create multiple pinboards, each representing a collection of Pins that relate to a different interest or category. The social aspect of Pinterest comes into play when Pinners browse each other's pinboards or search for specific types of Pins. Pinners can find inspiration, share their interests and connect with like-minded people. According to the Pinterest mission statement, the company believes that “a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people." Pinterest's rising popularity proves it as a new alternative for connecting people around the world based on shared tastes, styles and interests. For January of 2012, Pinterest's percentage of total referral traffic matched Twitter. Also it surpassed other popular content-sharing sites like YouTube, Google+, Reddit, MySpace, and LinkedIn. This combination bookmarking-and-scrapbooking site has become a favorite of fashionistas, interior decorators, event planners and chefs. Pinterest is now moving beyond its initial audience of stylists and hobbyists. And is moving into the realm of professional development. For careers like education that often depend on visual information, Pinterest can be a valuable technology tool. Teachers can search for Pins that will help create lesson plans for serve as instructional aids. The sharing aspect of Pinterest makes it a great way to collaborate and communicate with other teachers, students, and parents. A Pinner can invite other people to contribute to a pinboard, providing a versatile environment for team-based projects. Students can create photo journals or reports on Pinterest boards. USC's Rossier School of Education has a Pinterest site that illustrates the power of the Pin. The site contains 22 boards covering a diverse set of professional topics. This includes Apps for Education, Education Infographics, Make Math Fun and Organize Your Classroom. There are also inspirational boards with titles like “Art Makes the Soul Sing,” “Character is So Important” and “Movies to Inspire Teachers.” The benefits of pinboards are almost immediately apparent, with bright images organized by category inviting us to explore different subject areas. Clicking on a board opens to a full screen of links to posts, websites, blogs and videos. For any professional organization, Pinterest is an important social media tool that can be used to communicate, educate and create some buzz. USC Rossier uses Facebook and Twitter in addition to dedicated websites like MAT@USC, Teach.com, and Certification Map. They use this to provide information about the teaching profession and its teacher education programs. All of an organization's social media sites and websites can be linked to from Pinterest, integrating Pinterest boards with the organization's programs and services. Whether you're an individual or part of a professional organization, take a look at how Pinterest can help you develop your skills, find inspiration and connect with other professionals. To find out more and become a member of the community, visit the Pinterest website. Membership is currently by invitation only, but you can obtain an invitation via an e-mail request.Photo Credit: Shutterstock
This article was written by Social Media Outreach Coordinator, Sarah Fudin on behalf of Work It Daily-Approved Partner. 2tor – an education-technology company that partners with institutions of higher education such as USC to deliver their Masters in Teaching degree online.