Taking A Trip Back In Time with Pinterest
Yearning for Yesterday on Pinterest
Are you a history buff or a lover of nostalgia? If you have not already discovered, Pinterest is the Museum of Images of Bygone Days and Events that you have pined for-- and that now you can pin!
This article will present an overview of some of the pleasures of virtual archaeology that wait for you in this social network if you have not already done any blissful digging at this site.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social network that allows one to collect and pin images of personal appeal to virtual "pin boards". If you are a 'marketer' (and Pinterest is a prime choice of venue for internet marketers)you will introduce your own images of products. If you are a blogger or article writer, you will probably find that Pinterest is one of the most effective 'free' platforms to get your piece read these days.
If you are a collector of ,well, anything, you will uncover an artifacts range that you would be hard-pressed to find in any other venue, in reality, certainly, and on the Internet too.
If this piques your interest, either go and sign up to join Pinterest now (free and pretty much non-intrusive, unless you were one of the 'single women' who accidentally received congratulatory notes around impending nuptials from Pinterest) or, go back there if you are one of several people who have opened a Pinterest account but haven't yet truly activated your account (i.e., having pinned a monkey bread recipe doesn't really do the platform-- or your creative pinning skills-- justice).
Pinterest is quite user-friendly so I will leave it to you to read the basics to set up your 'pinboards' and start the pinning process. I have a few organizational tips you may (or may not) want to use at the beginning of the process. So, go Join (or Log-in) now and re-join me for the rest of this trek back into the Joys of Long Ago.
Do You Pin?
Are you on Pinterest?
Getting Started: Things To Be Aware Of
I find Pinterest to be the sort of thing I can plug into every night for a few minutes, or leave for weeks and take up again when I am reminded by a pin somewhere. I have also used it first thing on the Internet just after reading my email and I have to say that it is more mind- and time-consuming for me than Facebook, which for me means that early morning Pinterest points to danger. If you are digging up ancient artifacts under the hot morning sun you face the risk of being in bed for a few days afterwards with severe sunstroke. If you pin piles of exotic cake and casserole recipes, or work hard to pin every pin related to World War II Holocaust, you just might have to take a couple of days off to come out of that amazingly mesmerizing mist where Real Time ceases to exist. And if you are in charge of feeding others in your family, it is good to know that no amount of luscious pinned recipes will actually provide a balanced diet for anyone.
Here are some tips to fare well in everyone's estimation (including your own) when caught up by Pinterest's thrall:
- WARNING: Do not start Pinterest while caring for a child or working on a crisis line
- Schedule a start and finish time for your Pinterest play
- If pinning for more than 59 minutes, build in 'movement' periods of 10 or so minutes-- attend to some mindless activity like loading the dishwasher, feeding your dog, or checking your watch to see how much time is left until the kids get home from school.
- Prepare a fabulous snack from Pinterest for your children returning home from school (I'm just kidding, although it does seem to be a great idea, yes?)
- Give yourself some transition time to ease from listening to every pin of Elvis's Early Period to preparing the evening meal
- You can see where it is advantageous on Pinterest to be a senior living alone, or at least not having to feed and tend to pets and too many family members
Niches and Boards
Unlike some online projects and activities, like building a website for example, it is not terribly important to think of your overall pinning activities from a niche-perspective. By this I meant that you are not restricted to adopting a cute Pinterest name like KnittingKnelly and proceeding to gear each and every pinboard to knitting, thereby "branding" yourself as a knitter. If you do wish to be branded as a one-track knitting machine, though, there is nothing to stop you from doing this and you certainly will have an enjoyable time finding and being found by other knitters.
On Pinterest each pinboard ("board") you create is a "niche". You have the opportunity from thereon in of pinning daily to your board "Trips Along Route 66" until you make 1st Page for "Route 66" on Google (yes, it does happen), or you can have 30 pinboards that express the majority of your interests in life, and pin the individual boards as wildly or demurely as you desire. You may harvest every image/article on Google and Pinterest that has to do with "Kentucky Coal Mining in the 1920s" and go back to read them later, or you can select two or three appealing pins from those you follow on Pinterest when you so choose.
If you have a broad interest in, say, Elvis Presley, you might want to name one of your pinboards that and pin everything you find that attracts you that has to do with the general theme of Elvis Presley. If you also (or alternatively) want to pin some less general aspect of Elvis Presley, say "Elvis in Vegas," make a pinboard dedicated only to that aspect. I appreciate the opportunity of doing that-- going broad and then having a number of offshoot boards where I can pin much more specific items. Other meta-narratives of Elvis suitable to their own pinboards might be "Elvis's Girlfriends," "Elvis the Family Man", "Early Elvis Impersonators" or "Graceland". In my opinion, the idea here is to have as much fun as possible in the discovery process!
Yes, you may have 30 boards dedicated to some aspect of Elvis Presley, and one other board called "Monkey Bread and Other Fave Recipes". You're the boss!
If you want your boards and individual pins to be found by others of a like mind, be sure to add your own descriptions using the keywords that would seem to fit, such as "Elvis Presley" or "The King of Rock and Roll, Vegas 1973" versus non-descriptors such as "I love love love this".
Search on Pinterest for your Particular Interests
I love the Pinterest search engine because of all the gorgeous images that leap off the page beckoning, "pick me, pick me" and mostly, I do. You are able to filter your search to show Pins, Boards, Pinners, and Interests. You can also search for a particular pin that includes "Just My Pins" or "All Pins" on all of your boards.
If you knew Jane Smith (Pinner) did a certain kind of knitting, you could search with her name (clicking on Pinner) and find the different knitting boards to look over. If you just want to cut to the chase and get examples of all the finger-knitting articles available on Pinterest, then just go ahead and type "Finger-kinitting" in Pinterest and see what comes back.
Things Mother Taught..
Some Points of Etiquette and Community Niceties
If you have been on social networks for any length of time you will already know that there are the same types of folks that exist in any real community:
- the givers
- the takers
- the polite but superficial relaters
- the odd person who is aggressively friendly, maybe even creepy
- the occasional person who has a sad story to tell, is maybe even weepy
- you,me, our long-time friends
The really happy news is that I have much less "chat" interaction with my Pinterest following than I do on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or LinkedIn. I am an introvert and generally am not too partial to long wordy dialogues-- not because I don't like people, because I do, but because I am over-stimulated, distracted, and awkward with too much chatting, particularly the prolonged 'small-talk' sort. Pinterest has recently added a 'chat' app but I have only used it briefly with a friend. That said, it is Pinterest etiquette (nice thing to do) to comment on the odd pin before you pin it to your board. A positive comment is more meaningful than a Like, in a sort of parallel to how a handwritten Christmas letter is more meaningful than a mere card. (But no essays are required and no "adds" are generally requested, or not in my experience.)
Other points of etiquette and random observations include:
- ALWAYS use the URL of the original online source of your pin-- if it came from a blog, use that blog URL... don't use something from Tumblr, for example, that pretends to have originated the image/article and is basically squatting on someone else's intellectual property for nefarious reasons. The Tumblr creator will usually boldly display the 'borrowed' image as an island in the midst of various ads and in the vicinity you will find a teeny tiny redirect to the actual original source. Go there and cut and paste that URL onto your pin.
- In Twitter and on Facebook I have always felt that it is necessary to have a sort of balanced approach to the number of 'friends' or 'contacts' that I have and the number of people I follow. Soon after I joined Pinterest I noticed that many of my contacts were following hordes more people than were following them back. The follower-following practice on Pinterest would appear to reflect following your own individual desires instead of measuring up your friend list against your friends' friend lists. So go ahead and go mad with following everyone who appeals to you with no worries about being booted because you have exceeded a permitted level of adulation.
- While you can advertise actual products on Pinterest, you can not use affiliated-linked URLs. If you write blogs or articles, go ahead and have boards for them. If you have other affiliate relationships you might want to include them, appropriately, in your blog or article or website. Pinterest DOES generate a fair amount of traffic, so provide well-written content and you will be rewarded at your blogsite.
- You can choose to 'follow' someone's specific pinboard vs. following all that they have to offer. If you choose one of their boards that is of interest to you, you will benefit from having only pins with those topics on your timeline and not all the flotsom and jetsom of Pinterest-land in its wild variance-- unless you like that, of course.
Twin Towers By Night From Empire State Bldg. 2001
Searching for the Historical Period, Event, or Timeline
If you collect the antique limpid style of Belleek Irish porcelain you have likely been to sites like eBay and various specialist marketing sites. If you are more interested in 'displaying' your cups than you are in acquiring more, you will certainly enjoy Pinterest. If you have a blog or have written articles about Belleek porcelain, be sure to pin them to a pinboard you have created.
- Remember to be as general or as specific as you would like on your Board.
- Give the Board a name that is identifiable as containing what it is you are pinning there
- Write clear and descriptive comments for you pinboard and for each pin you post.
- Search for similar items on Pinterest to pin. Change the descriptions to suit you, or it is fairly common to see people type "Pinner says:" in front of a description they would like to keep but not have identified as originating with them.
- Some articles will share extensive information about the historical features of the Limpid variety of Belleek porcelain.
- If you find an article you would like to paste but it doesn't have a photo, use a photo of your similar porcelain or find a stock photo or something related, and add that article pin to your pinboard. Add the picture to your own picture files and upload it to Pinterest, on the pinboard re Irish Porcelain China. Next, click on 'edit' and add the Belleek china article URL to the "Source" line.
- Follow this example to start collecting any sort of historical information or nostalgia that you are driven to know about. You may find very little on Pinterest-- you might be the one to start the ball rolling by adding a pin. You should not be surprised to find quite a bit of fascinating information. You can always augment the current Pinterest articles with articles you find on other search engines.
- When you search on Pinterest and find a pin of interest, be sure to take note of who pinned it and check out their pinboards to see if they have other similar pins. Follow their relevant pinboards and you will likely have an ongoing source of pins. A comment or two on the pins you plan to use could result in more beneficial information around a mutual passion.
Pinterest and Your Family History
So, besides collecting early memorabilia pins re Rock Stars from the 70s or The Origin of the Combustion Engine, you might be interested in having your Family History in images on Pinterest. There are several ways this can be done:
- You can start a board of your own, pinning all of the documents (with that accompanying image that you need, most usefully acquired from the related family photos). Remember to have descriptive content on your pinboard and your individual pins including family charts (on the pinboard), if possible, individual family names, places of origin, dates of birth, marriage, and like information
- If you use any of the "professional" genealogical sites, cite the URLs for further information
- Pin photos of the places where your family originated from times when they likely lived there. These might be pins of the places you find on Pinterest, or they might be pins you create from other sources, such as blogs, articles and stories about historical events that occurred in those locations, or anything else that connects your family to particular geographic spots.
- Pin other significant events that occurred around the time of various ancestors' lives and in their homelands, eg., "My great-grandmother Minnie Fulgher was living just outside London at the time that Prince Edward VIII abdicated from the throne."
- Historical videos are a wonderful addition to Family History boards. The History Channel and the BBC are both great providers of fascinating documentaries on Wars and other world-changing events that could be used as a backdrop to learning about one's family, perhaps why and/or how they happened to end of where they did, and where you were born, instead of in "the Old Country" (the phrase my grandparents always used to reference that people had a heritage outside Canada.)
- Try some family data in the search bar on Pinterest. You might be surprised what comes up! I tried "South Russia Mennonites" and although I did not find information about my ancestors on my father's father's side, I did find book written about a close friend's ancestors and their home in South Russia.
- I created a pin about my family's part in the history of a Mennonite Bible School in Kansas and had 9 others re-pin it on their pinboards. When I click on these pinboards I find a wealth of pins that I will use to further my knowledge of that side of my Kansas Mennonite ancestors.
- Invite your extended family members to join Pinterest and more specifically, to pin on your Family History pinboards.
- If you have grandkids, let them join in on the project. They often have greater skills in research than their elders do, although they might take some jags that require correction (before everyone on Pinterest starts to believe that you are Edward VIII's love child's granddaughter).
- I am doing Geographic History pages for each of my parents, divided into their paternal and maternal geographic origins. We have patchy "family tree" information, but one can always dream!