14 Days of #macul14 – Day Eleven – Holy Crap! I’m on Pinterest Now!

Yes, yes, I know I’ve taken a few days weeks off from my “14 Days of #macul14” series. Life happens, wood floors must be refinished, Spring Break must be mostly work free, and in retrospect I may have been a bit too ambitious with my original idea.

That having been said, I now have to admit that I am a card carrying member of the “I’m on Pinterest” club. I’ve resisted joining the social site for many reasons, the least of which being the stereotypical excuse that its core audience is of the feminine persuasion. I have no problems operating in an environment that is predominantly populated with women (I work in a school after all).

So, Why Pinterest Now?

I sat in on a bit of Erin Klein’s Pinterest session, and was amazed at how many people were enraptured with the way that she was using it to help coordinate and organize learning links for her students. More impressive yet, is the way that many teachers in my own school district have used Pinterest to curate, share, and collaborate on learning resources for their classrooms. We have many teaching families (groups of 3 or 4 classrooms that collaborate closely) in which the lead teachers have dozens of Pinterest boards for “transition videos“, math activities, even activities based on the months of the calendar. They then coordinate their boards, and share with one another, building up a rather complex, and yet easy to navigate filing system for all of the websites they need to navigate throughout a busy day of school. It just didn’t make sense for me to ignore Pinterest anymore.

What I’m Enjoying So Far

I like that fact that Pinterest harkens back to a simpler time on the web; the early days of Delicious, and saving bookmarks was “to the web”, because we hadn’t started talking about “the cloud” yet. The browser extension (I’m using it in Chrome) makes it easy to quickly pin images and links to my boards, even creating board on the fly when I realize that what I want to save doesn’t fit in any of mr current boards. And I LOVE the visual aspect of it. As a long time user of Diigo for more academic reading and annotating on the web, I appreciate the simplicity and endorphin-releasing pleasure that sifting through images brings me. That and creating separate boards for each of the primary colors, just for grins, is actually a small relaxing joy. I’m gaining a new appreciation of just how addictive, and significant, the simplicity of the tools is. Which leads to some of my grumbles with it.

Where I’m Grumbling

I mentioned before that the general user base of Pinterest wasn’t an issue for me, and it still isn’t. After a few weeks of use (and after only a few dozen pins), I’m starting to grow increasingly frustrated with the simplicity of Pinterest. There are many links, images, or resources that would easily fit on multiple boards. Yes, I know that I can “re-pin” something multiple times, but in a world where semantic tagging is the dominant form of sharing, Pinterest seems almost quaint. I can include multiple hashtags on my tweets, tag my photos on Flickr as much as I want (and share to multiple groups at once), and even fine tune which individuals or groups see my Google+ postings. So when I’m given the opportunity to pin an object on just ONE board, it leaves me feeling like I’m not using a full fledged web 2.0 tool, as much as I’m using a slightly more grown-up version of my browser’s bookmark toolbar.

There isn’t much else that bothers me about the tool, although I would love to be able to subscribe to another user’s board, and then see that board appear on my profile page. The current system of just getting a stream of their pins in one giant “regurgitation” of sensory overload on my home page isn’t what I’ve come to want out of my sharing and discovery tools. I can see where many would, and are, enjoy it, but it’s just not my cup of tea.

For those that have used Pinterest for awhile, are my grumbles accurate? Do others experience these same desires to have a slightly more complex visual tool for curating the web? Or should I just embrace Pinterest for what it is, and enjoy the visual explosion of ideas?