Does anyone else think of Apprentice Postman Stanley* when they hear “Pinterest“?
Pinterest is visually appealing and as Sequeria (2011) pointed out it taps the fundamental human desires to collect and flaunt the collection. However, I wondered how likely is it that Pinterest would serve library goals of collaboration or engagement with users, and how one might evaluate its effectiveness for those goals.
My idea of “collaboration” is as Freed (2012, ¶ 6) defines succinctly: “Two or more people working together towards shared goals”. Cooperating and sharing the same space are not the same as collaboration.
Luckily a fellow student was also curious and had friends willing to contribute to shared boards. We quickly discovered major limitations to be worked around for collaborative use.
- No direct method to ask to join a board.
- No direct communication with contributors other than through pin comments.
- No way to remove or suspend an irrelevant pin – Even if the ‘shared goal’ is clearly defined in the board description, when pinning content only the board labels are displayed in a pinners’ list, so it is easy for irrelevant content to be posted accidentally or through misunderstanding.
Of the many library boards I explored, I noticed very few showing evidence (as measurable in number of likes, repins or comments) of engagement with or appeal to their community. Those that do, I am gathering on a board “Effective Library Pinning“.
For the many others (with some interesting ones pinned at Library Pinning), perhaps sharing book covers and event photos achieves the purported value of Pinterest for driving traffic (Bullas, 2012) ** — if so, I hope some begin writing about it (or maybe join my board).
Seed a game
Simply setting a fun topic can engage users but do need workarounds to kick off. For example:
New York Public Library (NYPL)(n.d) identified pets as a popular Pinterest topic and rallies users around a theme of their signature lions. NYPL picks up relevant pins if they’re tagged #NYPLLittleLion.
In Kansas City Public Library’s contest *** , members created their own “Perfect Library” board, emailing in the URL (Harper, 2012). Following this example, Pinterest might be used among other tools to brainstorm with the community prior to a redevelopment.
I wonder if workarounds increase the barriers and reduce the number of participants?
This has been a response to the first optional OLJ Task (Module 2); evaluating my use of Pinterest as a social bookmarking tool, critically evaluating the effectiveness of different features and/or functions; and briefly stating different ways an information organisation may be able to use Pinterest to support information services, learning and/or collaboration of users and/or employees. The switch from Delicious to Pinterest approved by Lyn Hay in the Facebook group on July 25, 2012.
* Until you’ve read Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, nevermind. –^–