I’ve “discovered” a new social networking tool that works well with Facebook, Twitter and my personal lifestyle. Not “discovered” as in Columbus discovering The New World, but “discovered” as in found and fell in love with. As a collector and purveyor of vintage goods, I’m always running across something I love and think I can’t live without while searching the internet. I happen across it on the internet, and add it to my bookmarks. Then I forget which website it was on and where I found it, and spend hours scouring my myriad bookmarks and folders. Grumbling and grousing, “now, where was that amazing thing I found?? I know I just saw it online yesterday and now I can’t find it again!”
One of my daily rituals includes watching “The Nate Berkus Show,” just because he’s funny and entertaining and he loves to use vintage items in his design work. He repurposes and upcycles, and sometimes he even keeps vintage items true to their original form and style. “Vintage is the new green,” he touts. I’m fascinated by his use of design boards, with scraps of fabric, paint colors, sketches, and samples. One particular afternoon, he shared a new website with his audience. The website is http://www.pinterest.com.
The concept behind Pinterest is building visual bulletin boards online. Pictures of items we find that strike our fancy are “pinned” to boards we create. Remember when you were a teenager and had a bulletin board in your bedroom? You’d cut pictures out of a magazine of a hairstyle you liked, a dress you wanted for prom, or the latest teen heart-throb and thumbtack them to your bulletin board.
Pinterest works in the same way, but in a virtual space. No more searching among hundreds of bookmarks on my computer for the name of a website. Instead I sign into my account on the Pinterest website and bring up my page of bulletin boards and find an image of the item I'm looking for and click on it and go right to the item's website !!! As I'm surfing the internet and find something I really like, I use the Pinterest button added right to my browser. Using what they call their "bookmarkit", I can pin any item to one of my boards on the Pinterest site. Easy as a couple clicks of the mouse. I can share my boards and allow other people to post to them, or I can make them private so only I can post to them.
The question becomes how to use Pinterest without it becoming shameless self-promotion of my items for sale. From Pinterest’s etiquette page we are told “Avoid Self Promotion:” Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion. (http://pinterest.com/about/etiquette/)