Depending on who you ask, it's the best thing ever or it's the biggest time waster ever. It's the bane of existence or a life saver. It's absolutely amazing or completely overwhelming.
To an organization-loving crafty writer like me, it's heaven.
Pinterest is like a virtual filing cabinet where I can keep all my favorite reference sites for anything from how to whiten my whites to meal planning to editing my WIP. There are funny and motivational quotes, fashion ideas, and how to clean my boys' bathroom using just two common household items.
To a newbie, it's like jumping off the deep end of the pool without a life jacket and hoping for the best. There's a wealth of information out there and it's easy to get lost in the overload of data.
Never fear! Super Dream Chaser to the rescue! (That's me, if you didn't know.)
Last I checked, my alter ego's Pinterest page has 147 boards, 12,910 pins, 363 likes, 563 followers, and is following 198 people. If that doesn't mark me as a pro, I don't know what does. Add that to my stellar organizational skills (this is me being humble here), and you've got one superb Pinterest tutor helping you out.
Gone are the days when you could peruse Pinterest without commitment. You now need an account to see people's pins. Never fear! (Last time saying that. I promise.) It's easy to sign up. You can use your email address or log in using Facebook.
I personally prefer signing in with Facebook. Not having to remember yet another password is just part of it. Pinterest will link you up with your Facebook friends who are already on Pinterest so you don't have to go searching for them. You do have to opt in to follow them. That will show up on the upper left hand side of your home feed - about five names at a time. But if you can sign up with email, too. Just enter in a valid email address and a password, then click "Sign up".
Pinterest will ask for a few more details. You don't have to use your first and last name. My alter ego's page is titled "Melissa's Writer's Nook & Crafting Cranny". You don't even have to add your age or indicate whether you're male or female. They just use the information to help populate your feed with suggestions.
Once you're in, Pinterest will start building a custom home feed for you. All you have to do is choose five or more topics.
You can choose from the topics they provide or you can search for a specific topic. You do need to follow at least five to get started.
When the "Done" button pops up, you can move on. For this example, I chose Writing, Funny Quotes, Quotes, Books, and Inspirational Quotes. They're things I follow on my own feed. Don't worry about messing up. You can change what you follow later. Just choose a few that appeal to you. Once you start following more people, you'll see their pins more than Pinterest's suggestions.
If you're on a computer, at some point, Pinterest will ask you to get the Pinterest browser button. I highly recommend doing so. That way, if you follow a link via Twitter, Facebook, or other means, you can easily pin that link for future reference. I use it constantly.
The button isn't required and you can install it any time, but it's so much easier doing it up front.
This screen disappears on its own after a minute or so. Then you're left with your home feed. Each picture you see is an individual pin. (Side note: You can't pin a website that doesn't have a pinnable image.)
If you want a better look at a pin, click on it. It pops up a larger image and the full description.
Here you can pin the image for future reference, comment on it, like it, or click on the image and go to the pinned website.
When you click on "Pin It", another screen pops up so you can select the board you want to pin it to.
If this is your first board or you're creating a board, enter in the board name. You can also change the description of the pin by clicking on the pen icon below the image.
After you've pinned the image, you can check it out on your profile. Click on the red pushpin image on the upper right of your home feed. It should be right next to your chosen name.
It will take you to your profile page. Below your name, you'll see your stats. Those stats are also tabs. If you click on "Pins", it will show you all your pins, starting with the ones you pinned most recently. Clicking on "Followers" will show you who's following you. You get the idea.
To see the pins within each board, just click on the board image. The board image shows a preview of four pins within that particular board as well as the name you gave the board. You can move boards around however you wish so you can find certain boards easier. Just click and drag to where you want it.
There's also an option to create new boards here. Click on "Create a board".
Enter the name of your new board. You can add a description and a category, make it secret, and add collaborators (people who can pin to your board).
Secret boards are just like regular boards with one exception - only you and the people you invite can see them. This is great if you're planning things like a surprise party or creating a Christmas list. They're created the same way as a normal board.
One last basic and we'll get to some tips and tricks on how to utilize Pinterest to chase your dreams.
If you're looking for something specific, like a recipe for lemon bars or maybe a certain individual to follow. Let's look for...me!
Enter what you're looking for in the search bar at the top of the screen.
Pinterest separates each word so you can delete any words you choose not to search for. It allows you to broaden your search with ease. Oh, look! I'm the first two pins displayed! Sweet.
Above the pins populated by your search is a tool bar. You can search through all pins, just your pins, pinners, or boards. Let's click on "Pinners" to see what happens.
It's me again! The second option, I mean. That's the account I started up a while ago with the intent of having my writing separate from the rest. So didn't happen. Oops. I may get back to it some day. Maybe.
Basics are covered. Now let's get down to how to use Pinterest in your Dream Chasing.
How to Use Pinterest in Your Dream Chasing - Organizing It All
Pinterest isn't just about food, crafts, and memes about kittens. You can use it to help you chase your dreams or slay those pesky dragons. First things first, you've got to be organized.
When I first started pinning and creating boards, I came up with creative names for each board. I thought I was clever. Maybe I was. But those clever names made it extremely difficult to find the things I had pinned for later reference! Unfortunately, Pinterest doesn't allow for subfolders, so I had to get creative.
Most of my boards now have multi-layer names.
I'm a writer (that wasn't obvious, was it?) and I've pinned a LOT of writing-related pins. To help keep them straight, I separated them into different boards. As you can see above, each board starts with "A Write Thing" followed by a more detailed description. Since Pinterest lists your boards in alphabetical order when you go to pin something, I named my writing boards so they would be at the top of the list.
But what happens when you need to go even further with your subcategories? Check it out.
I'm a crocheter. There are TONS of pins out there for future projects. I didn't want the pin on how to crochet a heart to be buried among pins for afghans, pillows, and fingerless gloves. So I created several boards just for crochet and named them appropriately. This time, I was being quite clever (and still so humble).
More Dream-Chasing Dragon-Slaying Pinterest Tips
- The search bar is your best friend. Search for everything you need BEFORE you go to Google. Check to see how many pins each link has gotten. The more pins, the more reliable the information. I never do a Google search for recipes anymore.
- The Pinterest Browser Button is your other best friend. When you find a website you love, use the browser button to pin it and save it so you can find it again. Whether you want to remember which vegetables grow best together or how to solve that dang Rubik's Cube once and for all, you want to be able to find those instructions again.
- Follow people who have similar interests. If your dream is to be the world's ultimate beekeeper, search out beekeeping and follow people who pin about it. Want to learn how to pogo stick or play the violin? It's all there. Going back to a previous post, find your tribe.
- Customize descriptions for your pins with information relevant for YOU. Most people (myself included) will simply repin without changing the description. Most of the time, it doesn't matter. Occasionally, I leave myself notes.
- Comment on your pins to tell yourself whether the pin was worth it or not. I like to do this with recipes especially. You can also create a new board for tried and true pins.
- Choose specific boards to follow. I usually follow all the boards my friends have, at least at first. If I decide I no longer want to see boards that feature pro skateboarders or extensive body tattoos, I unfollow those boards.
- Check Pinterest often, but set a time limit. It's easy to get sucked up in the world of Pinterest. You follow one link after another only to look up and find five hours have passed.
As long as this post has been, it's only the tip of the iceberg. Pinterest, when used wisely, is an amazing tool for dream-chasing. It's how I've learned almost everything I know about writing. It's also how I come up with organizational ideas and new recipes and geeky memes I have to share and all things crafty. There's no limit to what you can do with the information you find.
What you do with that information, however, is up to you. Now get out there and chase those dreams, people!