I am not quite sure how I feel about the Pinterest phenomenon at this point. I am not actively on the site and don’t have much of desire to be. Major periodicals, The New Times and Time Magazine, have been commenting on site lately in a couple different articles (A Scrapbook on the Web Catches Fire & Men Are from Google+, Women Are from Pinterest). The latter article outlines how more than 97% of Facebook fans and almost 83% of Pinterest users are women.
I will openly admit that I did sign up for an invite to Gentlemint, the “man” version of Pinterest. To be honest, I’m not quite sure why. Part of me wants to check it out for myself. To see what all the hype is about. Is it going to be another passing fad? I really have no idea.
As I think about applications of Pinterest in student affairs/higher education, I pause for a bit. I had my students give me an overview of the site. I asked them their thoughts about using it for the office. They stared at me as if I had three heads. It was almost as if they were offended that I even asked the question. I feel that based on my limited exposure that there could be some really great ways to use Pinterest to interact with students. But at the same time, I hesitate and ask why? Do we really need to interact with students on every technology platform available?
I say let’s allow students to have Pinterest all to themselves. Yes, it’s “exciting and new.” But so was The Love Boat. It’s okay for us to say no to something. Our offices/departments/organizations do not need to be involved in everything. Let’s choose a couple things and get really good at them first, before we decide to add more and more to our plates. If we are going to step into this realm, I think we should be ready for eye rolls and groans. Do our students want to be bugged by another invite to “engage” them?
At the same time, why don’t we keep something for ourselves too? Maybe that is ultimately why I am joining Gentlemint. To have an online space to myself, outside of my work environment. To have an account that I really get to cull my personal interests. To have a place that allows me to pin cool looking beards, gnarly made beer, and pink plaid pants without fear of being judged by others. Maybe, just maybe, our students are looking for the same thing.