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March 22, 2012 / Randy Coppinger

Pinterest: Why, How and Implications

I’ve compiled bookmarks in browsers and kept lists of URLs to help keep track of good stuff I’ve found online. I’ve even posted indexes of such lists to share with others. Pinterest makes it easier for me to do all of these and to find valuable info quickly from other people. The metaphor is pretty simple: when you find something you like online, you “pin it” to a bulletin “board.” Because it’s graphically oriented you can quickly look through what’s been indexed.

I have figured out a few things that help me curate my collections. If you use Pinterest, or are thinking about it, maybe these will help you along.

1. When you first create your Pinterest account, designate your Facebook setting to “only me” so you don’t have to spam everyone with your initial pinning activity. Then you can deactivate feeding Pinterest to Facebook from the Settings menu.

2. The simplest way to pin something is using the “Pin It” button available for your bookmark toolbar. If you have an account, pulldown “About > Pin It Button” and scroll to the top of the Goodies list. Drag it to your bookmark toolbar. Whenever you see something you want to save or share, click it in the toolbar, select the image and type a brief description in the new window. Done.

3. If you want to pin a page but there are no images:
    a. Go find an image somewhere else and pin it.
    b. Edit the pin and paste the desired destination URL in the Link field.

4. If you include a number with a dollar in front of it in your description, the pic will be displayed with a banner showing that figure. If you use more than one dollar value, the last one gets bannered. You can see examples of this on my Audio Test Equipment board.

I’m using Pinterest as a “see also” for some of my articles. It’s an easy way to include related info from other sites and it’s so simple to keep a board updated. My Pinterest boards often point back to my site, for simplified indexing. Because Pinterest organizes information based on a picture, I’m motivated to include something that graphically represents what I’ve written on every post, making it easier for people “Pin It” and find it among other information on someone’s board.

Gamification

Libe Goad suggests game developers might consider enabling gamers to graphically collect, “their favorite products or uses from a brand or company to a shared virtual space, or perhaps their favorite scenes and characters from a film or television show.” Taking her idea a step further, what if gamers were allowed to collect favorite sounds and trigger them, replacing stock audio assets in a game? We’ve seen “play with your favorite song” as background music to the game. But curating and replacing sounds wouldn’t merely re-skin a game. This would let users design their own game audio mashup. Not a simple thing to implement, either by allowing your assets to be taken or getting the volume right for outside assets users import into your game. This kind of thing would probably work best in a game that has a sense of humor to it. It certainly takes the idea “interactive” to a new place.

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