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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.

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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