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Pinterest Lessons Anyone?

Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid. I'm now part of the 'If you Pin, you're in' crowd. Do you have any Pinterest helpful hints? Please share them here!

So I drank the Kool-Aid today and joined Pinterest. I heard the rumors swirling that this was the next cool social community. If you “Pin,” you’re “in”, you know? 

I avoided signing up and seeing what Pinterest was all about for many months now.  The thought of having enough time to maintain or explore yet another website on a daily or weekly basis made me want to run, not walk from it. I already have enough trouble keeping up with my email, Twitter, Facebook, blog, and real-life social interactions. I thought if I started Pinteresting I’d have to clone myself first.

However, after a few friends prodded me (Linsey, Chris, and Jenn–you know who you are!), they got me to take the plunge. They touted how you could find everything you were interested in on Pinterest: food, drinks, fashion, fun, and more. If you wanted to know how to fix something–the answer was there. If you were planning a celebration and needed to know how to create glue gun friendly party favors, this was your place. And although I couldn’t picture it in my head at the time, once you found these gems, you could organize them so you could find them again in the future. 

When someone mentioned that they have “recipes” there–well, those were the magic words that sparked my interest. So, silently, I succumbed to the site.

On Sunday, I Googled the website. You may think Pinterest.com would be self-evident; but when I typed that into my browser, it was as if my computer was giving me a sign “No! Go back! Don’t do it!”–because it couldn’t load the site. After verifying with Google I did, in fact, have the correct web address, the site then took about 10 minutes to load. I don’t know why. It just did. I figured it didn’t like me and held some resentment towards me for pretending it didn’t exist for so long.

Now, it became a challenge. I was determined. I was GOING to get on Pinterest, if it was the last thing I did. So after the website taunted me, I finally got to a screen. A screen that asked me for my login ID and password, but no readily available place to “sign up.” What?? After reading a bit, I noticed it said I needed to be “invited” to the site to gain entry. I was not thrilled.

The drama I had already experienced in finding Pinterest had me wondering if extreme right-brained people who still write with crayons were the ones behind the design. Maybe this was the kind of craftiness involved which everyone spoke of. I certainly hoped not. 

So I did the adult thing and began begging my friends for invites to this “exclusive club” where you could virtually thumb tack things without hurting yourself. Kindly enough, they sent me the carefully guarded links for me to click on to join this society of pins and boards. Meanwhile, I turned to my iPad to see if it was as allergic as my computer was to Pinterest.com. Turns out Apple devices like Pinterest much better than Microsoft in my home, and it loaded the website AND provided me with a “Request to Join” button! Hallelujah!

After all of this effort, I was hedging my bets. I clicked on every link emailed to me and requested myself to become a member. I figured if the people of Pinterest got tired of seeing my name, they’d have to let me in, right? Remarkably, one of the links that I was sent from a friend worked! They let me in! I was officially a Pinterestian! (Although I wasn’t quite sure what that meant.)

If it was this hard to get into this site, it had to be good, right?

So after getting over my initial entry excitement, I had to figure out if I wanted to log in with my Facebook account. Sure! Why not? When I did that, I somehow wound up following all of my 3,428 Facebook friends (I exaggerate), who were already on Pinterest. Go me. I was feeling good about this–still. Plus, I just became everyone’s Pinterest follower of the day. I had to get some brownie points for that.

Then I wondered, OK, I followed them, so they automatically follow me back, right? Wrong! And to top it off, there was no way for me to invite my Facebook friends to follow me. So I did what any normal person would do–panic; and I quickly sent out an A.P.B. to my fellow Facebook Pinners asking them how exactly I’m supposed to invite my Facebook friends to follow me back on Pinterest. I mean, if no one follows you and what you post, that’s no fun, right? You just follow the world and live in a Pinterest bubble then.

I then found out, in my first Pinterest 101 lesson, that when you join Pinterest and follow someone, Pinterest automatically emails them (or in my case all 3,428 people I automatically followed on Pinterest) asking them to follow you back. All well and good, if those people you are following set up their account settings to receive emails from Pinterest in the first place.

Then one of my friends made my day (thank you Jenn!) for she became my first follower. Granted, there’s not much out there for them to follow yet on my page–I’m working on that. I have to figure out first how to follow new people (because the 3,428 may not be enough)! 

I gave it an attempt already. I had the great idea I’d follow Paula Deen, the Southern cooking queen who knows the more butter, the better. It couldn’t be that hard to figure out, right?

So I typed "Paula Deen" into the search box and up came about 50,000 “boards” with Paula Deen’s name on them, or her recipes “pinned” to them. Ugh. How was I ever going to find the real Paula! Paula? Paula!? Are you there?!? 

Then I saw that I could select "People" instead of "Boards" in my search options.  “Click” went my mouse. That was slightly better. I pulled up Paula and her 10 best impostors. I think I finally followed the right one. Boy, that was harder than I thought!

So as my Pinterest hazing continues (I think they require all new members to go through this process to see how technologically challenged their newest recruits are), I hope somehow, some way I’ll figure out how to get people to follow me, too:  http://pinterest.com/ladyinredblog/  (If you follow me, I’ll follow you!)

I’m looking to expand my “board” called “Recipes that Scare Me” for starters, so please post away. And if you’ve got any Pinterest tips for me, please, do post them here. I can use all I can get!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Deanna Milano March 19, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Pinterest isn't only about finding things that you're actually looking for. Half of the fun is combing through the thousands and thousands of pins that show up in the "Everything" feed. I stumble across so many things I never would have realized I'd wanted to find! The only bad part about Pinterest is that if you don't pin it right away, you might never find it again. So my advice is to pin, pin, pin, and pin some more! The more you pin, the more likely you're going to get followers. The more interesting your pins, the more likely you're going to get followers. Last tip, add the "Pin it" button to your browser bar. It lets you pin straight to your boards from any website, which is extremely useful and introduces new content into the Pinterest world!
Laura Madsen March 19, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Is there an easy way to "find" specific things after you pin them within one of your boards? I feel like if I pin too much I could risk losing that favorite recipe, etc. in a slew of 100 or more pins.
Deanna Milano March 19, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Not really. I've broken up my recipes into categories, each a separate board. So I have a board for appetizers, and a board for main courses, etc. If you find yourself making something and it becomes a favorite, you can always re-categorize it on a board you name as "Favorite Recipes" or "Tried and True". Otherwise, by labeling them specifically, you will be able to find them more quickly, but honestly, with everything organized with the pictures, it's pretty easy to find things. There is no clicking to go to the next page of pins, you just keep scrolling down and Pinterest tells you it is "Fetching Pins". If it's something I really really like, I typically print out the recipe and put it in a binder.
Laura Madsen March 19, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Is there a limit on the number of pins per board? (not that I plan to try to max out my limit) - but just so I know what I'm dealing with. And thank you. Your post on separating boards into multiple boards just saved me about an hour's worth of time trying to search within a board! :)
Deanna Milano March 20, 2012 at 10:02 AM
I'm really not sure about any limits, a quick google search didn't turn anything useful up, but you can always create more boards, and re-categorize your pins. Happy pinning! I'm looking forward to following your pins :)
Laura Madsen March 20, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Thanks, Deanna! You've got some interesting pins!
Curt Carnes March 21, 2012 at 12:43 PM
This is slightly outside of the scope of this thread, but are you aware that some major employers are now asking, or actually requiring, prospective employees to give them their Username & Passwords to any social media sights they belong too? There are also business popping up that will search all social media outlets for employers and report back anything a prospective employee may have posted So don’t be surprised if a hiring manager complements you on your recipe for dumplings, out of the clear blue sky! George Orwell was right, he just got the date wrong!
Laura Madsen March 21, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Really? I think that's an invasion of privacy. There's got to be a line drawn as to what employers are allowed to have access to. What's next? Many people do banking online - does that mean that now an employer should have access to financial records because they are online? I think privacy laws should apply to electronic communications, social or not, too. In the old days, my boss would not be able to browse through my physical photo albums if I didn't want him or her to, nor would they have access to a list of who my friends were unless I gave it to him. If people flaunt every aspect of their lives on a social media site so it's public knowledge, then of course they are taking the risk that an employer or future employer would see any aspect of that. But I don't believe that login ids or passwords should be shared. That kind of information falls into the hands of hackers without the sharing of that information as it is, now! And, for example, just because someone is my boss, they should not have the ability to potentially impersonate me or control the settings or who has access to my social accounts. They are just a person like anyone else. What's to stop a dissatisfied boss from making certain things public on your accounts that you may not want public, or making posts from your account seeming to impersonate you. Or if you are fired, and they access your account b/c you forget to immediately change the pwd and they steal your online identity that way.
Laura Madsen March 21, 2012 at 01:09 PM
And for that matter, where is the line drawn when classifying something as "social media"? Email is social media for that matter. Even posting comments here on Patch can be considered social media. Common sense, again, should prevail when people decide what to post on the world wide web. You never know who can see it. Aside from that, I wouldn't work for anyone that wanted to be like big brother watching my every move online and having the potential to censor me or fire me for my opinions and posts, or worse yet impersonate me. If they have that much time on their hands to monitor my vacation pictures and my recipes, it says to me that they are not devoting enough time to their business at hand to begin with, and could be using their time a lot more productively. ;)
Curt Carnes March 21, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Crazy isn’t it? You bring up some very valid points. So think, here you are 20 years from now kids grown and you want back in the work force. You see an ad for a good job that you are fully qualified for at Kraft foods and you figure -- I’ve got this one nailed, out goes the resume, and you hear nothing! Too bad for you Kraft checks your Pinterest account and somewhere along the line is some tiny little recipe out of hundreds you put up, you once wrote; only used Campbell Tomato soup, because it is more favorable than Krafts. Oh well you didn’t want that job anyway did you? I don’t care what job I could be sitting for, if the hiring manager or the HR rep. ask for my user name and passwords for all my social accounts, that would be the end of the interview. However, and fortunately for me I am at the point in my life where I have that luxury, sadly many do not! http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/03/some_employers_are_asking_job.html
Laura Madsen March 21, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I do know that some professionals need to be careful about their online social media identities, such as law enforcement officials, so that there is no retaliation against them or their families from people that they may arrest, etc. Many, because of this, choose not to have accounts on Facebook, Pinterest, etc. However, the ownness and risk is upon the individual. I do understand that many people "need" a job, but if more people take the stance that they will not tolerate such intrusive behavior such as the sharing id/pwd requirements by a prospective employer, or employer, then it is likely that there will be less of this intrusion in the future. If companies are worried about people's behavior damaging the company's reputation, monitoring social media sites won't prevent that. An employee can still go home and bad mouth a company to his friends and neighbors, and can still go on a drinking binge with her friends one weekend on vacation and by word of mouth alone, stories about these things can get around. I love how companies like Sears (in the article you posted a link to above) said that "Sears Holdings Inc. spokeswoman Kim Freely said using a Facebook profile to apply allows Sears to be updated on the applicant's work history." See, that's crossing the line. Who is the owner of the account? Not Sears! What if that person doesn't want the world to know s/he works for Sears. It's no one's business but his own!
Laura Madsen March 21, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I agree with this from the article, too: "But Lori Andrews, law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law specializing in Internet privacy, is concerned about the pressure placed on applicants, even if they voluntarily provide access to social sites. "Volunteering is coercion if you need a job," Andrews said." - - - - - Coercion, is illegal. Well, things can change if people band together and stick together. Not to mention, the 4th amendment does protect our rights: (per Wikipedia)The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. - - - - - A search internally, using a user's id and password, of a social media account, without "probable cause", is equivalent to my boss coming into my home and rummaging through my photo albums, cook book, and handwritten letters to and from friends. (Just my opinion.)
Deanna Milano March 21, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I am an HR student, and in our Employment Law classes, Staffing classes, and Career Management classes we are taught that the best thing to do is to Google a potential employee. However, the only things you can access are posts, pictures, sites, etc. that are accessible to the public. An HR rep or future employer has no grounds to request your username and password. If they do, you can let them know that it is not work-related, and truthfully giving anyone your username and password will violate the terms of service of almost every social media and networking site. The federal laws aren't clear enough at this point in time, but do provide a thin layer of protection from this practice used by employers. Of course, if a rep asked me for my username and password, I would graciously excuse myself from the interview - it's important to me not to work for a company that would violate a potential employee's privacy.
Laura Madsen March 21, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Thanks, Deanna, I feel the same way!
Curt Carnes March 22, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Larua, just for the record. The Constitution along with its amendments were witten primarily by our forefathers, like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson …etc., and it was originally written to allow for a Central Government, which we call the Federal Government, today. Most of our forefather opposed the idea of an uncontrolled Central Government, because they had just fought a bloody war to get out from under a very oppressive, uncontrolled Central Government. Given that, they wrote the Constitution to control the Central Government they knew they had to establish here. BTW, the Constitution only gives the Central Government 18 enumerated powers, (see link below) and frankly our government operates with absolute impunity, totally outside of those powers each and everyday . Anyway the Constitution and its amendments are written to be an agreement between “We the People” and our Government, and it does not pertain between the people against the people. So if your boss wants you to hand over your username and passwords, he can and he is not in violation of any law! He can actually fire you if you don’t, because NJ is an “At Will Employment State,” in which you have as much right to walk away from your employer, as they have to walk away from you, for any reason what so ever, or no reason at all. Just wanted to clear that up! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enumerated_powers
Laura Madsen March 22, 2012 at 02:07 PM
I think Pen Man left a similar comment yesterday, Curt. I just don't know what happened to it. But thank you both for the clarification. However, like Deanna said, people always have a choice. If you invite a stranger in to tour the inside of your home and give him a key, it's your decision, you know? An employer can ask for permission to invade your privacy but it doesn't mean you have to let them do it. Personally, I would exit the interview just as Deanna mentioned she would below.
Curt Carnes March 22, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I’m going to take a big leap here away from the inception of the thread. Maybe you want to move this someplace else. I do, however, find it very interesting how many people find a request like demanding your username and password, too far over the line and a total invasion of privacy. Yet many of those same people are more than happy to decide, or actually demand just what can or can’t be done to someone else’s private property in town. Isn’t that an invasion of privacy also?
Laura Madsen March 22, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Ooh, check out what just hit the wire in the past 2 hours from Patch's sister, Huffington Post, on this very topic! (I laugh. Lately my timing is uncanny. I say pink slime one day, and the next ABC is writing on the topic. Now Huffington is playing copy cat. I have the craziest luck - or is it? LOL) Here's the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/aclu-facebook-password_n_1372242.html?ref=technology&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009
Laura Madsen March 22, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I think many people have initial reactions to things based on a gut feeling. I know I do. Sometimes I express an opinion because I have a passionate feeling about it and I do it without putting myself in someone else's shoes first. In general, people take matters such as privacy very personally and seriously, so they may state that an employer demanding their personal username and password is crossing the line. But when it comes to other issues where they make demands on what should be done with someone else's property in town, well, that's not THEIR property, so it's easier to make a statement off the cuff, saying what someone else should and shouldn't do. If you make the issue about THEIR OWN property, then see how quickly most people would say "Well, it's MY property and you can't tell me what to do." It's all about perspective. Just posted a link below to a breaking story on Huffington post where the ACLU says your facebook password shouldn't be your boss's business. I am not a cross-the-board supporter of the ACLU's statements or actions, but on this issue, I agree with them.
Steve March 22, 2012 at 06:36 PM
My employer can ask all they want for my facebook password, but they wont get one since I never had a facebook account. :-)
Laura Madsen March 22, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Steve: :) On another note, I'm sure that many people who have Facebook accounts may consider having two now if handing information over to employers becomes the trend. One that they maintain for snoopy employers, and the other, probably without any identifying photos or information that they maintain for friends, etc. After all, there is more than one John Doe or Jane Smith. I was thinking too, employers may get misinformation upon even Googling someone. Many people share the same names, and even live in the same general area. I could Google someone and think that all of the information I find pertains to one particular person, when in fact, it does not. So prospective candidates can be "blamed" for the deeds of others. That's not fair either.
Steve March 23, 2012 at 07:55 PM
This is hijacking the original topic, maybe it warrants a new thread. Facebook warns employers not to demand passwords from job applicants http://finance.yahoo.com/news/facebook-warns-employers-not-demand-141726467.html?l=1
Laura Madsen March 23, 2012 at 08:32 PM
I applaud Facebook on taking a strong stance. I personally, would love to see them make an example out of a bullying, coercing potential employer. However, I fear companies will find a way around this and demand that employees not have Facebook accounts at all as part of their hiring requirements. However, people could still circumvent that, and set up Facebook accounts without identifying information, so an employer could not be certain that the account belonged to them. Two can play at that game. However, I feel companies should stay out of people's social lives, period. Social lives can be as we live, breathe, and walk; snail mail, or electronic communications. It's bad enough that companies have control over 1/3 of most people's lives. What people do with their free time, is none of the company's business.
Steve March 23, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Laura, I guess Facebook wants to be the only one invading people's privacy. ;)

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