Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I suppose it was inevitable - like many others in the blogging world, I have become a bit obsessed with Pinterest. (I blame Zoe from SlowMama for introducing me to it.) Who knew that collecting bookmarks could be so sticky and addictive? Part of the appeal is that it's so visual - it really is a digital inspiration board - and part of it is the ability to file things by category. Seeing what your friends are reading is always pretty nifty, but you can also browse through the feed of everything being pinned - handy if you like to trend-spot. It can also be a form of self-exploration to create a pinboard full of random things that inspire you, then look for themes among them.

For instance, I've found that I have an incredible soft-spot for cottagey whitewashed timber walls, nautical decor, and floor-to-ceiling gallery walls.

Of course I've also created some great pinboards on aspects of the slow movement, and a Slow Home inspiration board.

There are some downsides to plugging in to the hive-mind on sites like Pinterest, though. It's easy to spend too much time on it, and ABC Dragoo has written previously about how easily bloggers can lose their unique voice if they do a lot of reblogging - and the same is true with your visual input in many other fields. If you are a creative, you'll reach a point where you need to disconnect from all the other great work happening out there in the wide world in order to make things that are original and unique.

However. I think if you use it with awareness, manage your time a bit, and install a 'pin this' button on your browser so you can bookmark the inspirational stuff you find on the rest of the Internet and keep your boards fresh, it can be a really useful site. As an exercise to prove this, I created a pinboard for coolness emerging from the many tweets and blog posts from the London Design Festival this week - mostly things that weren't yet on Pinterest (or at least not easily findable with their keyword search). It will be interesting to see whether anyone else finds that pinboard useful (I guess I'd measure that by looking at the number of repins). It has already helped me to focus on what is new in design and inspired me to push myself in my own work.

I'd also suggest that if you blog about topics that are of interest to Pinterest users, you should look at your sites stats. You may be delighted to see (as I was) that a couple of your older blog posts are getting more visits than usual, thanks to a reader pinning them. It'll be interesting to see if Pinterest use becomes part of the standard advice on website promotion in the not-too-distant future.

As it happens, Pinterest also just launched their new look today. I was going to show you a couple of before-and-after-the-redesign screenshots, but I didn't get anything screencapped in time (whoops). You'll just have to take my word for it that it looks a bit cleaner and prettier now.

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