Pinterest is a social media platform in which users can "pin" (or visually bookmark) various websites, photos, and ideas onto a categorized board to share with others. This website has recently become popular among those who craft, cook/bake, and whom are educators. Speech-language pathologists are currently using this website to share therapy ideas, materials, and websites. The website has quickly become popular and as many are beginning to use it professionally, it is important to remember that the information on the website is public. This means that we as professionals must think about the appropriateness of what we pin and which parts of our personal life to keep separate from our Pinterest accounts.
The first thing that you can do to keep your personal and professional Pinterest accounts separate is to create two separate accounts. One can do this by signing up for the site with different e-mails, even if you have the same Facebook or Twitter account. For example, I used my personal e-mail to create my personal Pinterest account and my Consonantly Speaking e-mail to create my professional account. Then, I disconnected my Pinterest account from my Facebook to keep those separate as well. You can do this by going into Pinterest's settings and turn off the "Link to Facebook" and "Link to Twitter" settings. This does not fully disconnect you from Facebook, however. You must go into your Facebook settings and disconnect the Pinterest app as well.
Now that you have disconnected your Pinterest from your Facebook you must think about what you post to your professional account. First, think about which boards you share with other professionals, families, and friends. What is appropriate to share with them? Many people have boards for baking or wedding ideas, and while those are personal, they are most likely not offensive in nature. However, I have seen some professionals with boards with unprofessional images shared with profane language or images that may be offensive to some.
When creating a professional board, one must think about the audience for your board. Are you sharing it with your close friends or are you wanting to share with other professionals and families? In addition, even if you are only wanting to use it for personal use, you have to think about the fact that this website is public and anyone can search for your name within the site. Therefore, my professional Pinterest account includes boards relating to topics in speech-language pathology, materials to use in therapy, reference images of speech-language anatomy, etc.
It is not enough to solely post appropriate images. One must make sure that what he or she posts on the Pinterest website has an appropriate link associated with it. In the examples below, I have clicked "edit" on a pin on my Speech apps board to change the link.
Therefore, before you click "repin", always check the website associated with the pin. I do this especially when I pin Speech related pictures or comics because many of the comics are posted to inappropriate websites even though they are appropriate pictures. If you want to change the website, you can do that yourself to match the appropriate website, or instead of pinning that specific pin, search for the image on Google to find the image on an appropriate website. Then, pin it yourself. Also, it is important to check your link to make sure that you are linked to the original website it was posted on. For example, if I pin a post from Speech Room News or Pediastaff's blog, I want to make sure that I am pinning the specific post rather than the website itself, and I am not pinning someone else's website discussing their post.
One other thing to consider is the text in the description area when you re-pin. Is the description related to the image appropriate? Is it something that you would state yourself to describe the pin?
In this example, I have edited the description to state a lot of information about thoughts related to a pin. Personally, I would not use a phrase like "oh my goodness" or use the same language that is in the description. Therefore, if I were to repin this pin, I would change the text to state something that relates to how I would describe the pin. This does not mean that you shouldn't give your opinion about a pin, but keep it professional.
What are your thoughts on Pinterest professionalism? Is there anything else that I have left out of this post that you would like to share? Feel free to comment below! Also, feel free to repin this blog post if you have found it to be helpful!
Update 3/16/12: I realize that Pinterest has undergone a bit of a change in their overall look, however what was written in this post is still relevant and most of the images in this post are up to date with the new look (all except the look of the boards).