Pinterest...social media for the visual...or the lazy (like me). While I realize that Pinterest has been around for a while, it seems to have had a resurgence of interest and chatter over the last few weeks on various social media sites. While I personally have used Pinterest for everything from new recipes to try, to inspiring quotes that helped get me through a tough day during that awful deployment in the exciting life of an Army wife, I never really thought about how the Army and Pinterest might relate. To me, Pinterest is a place to find easy crafts or dinner ideas, but not a place to connect with the Army. That thought never crossed my mind. So I have to admit, I laughed a little when I saw a recent post on Twitter by the US Army discussing Pinterest. The two seem like such opposites that I just couldn't see the connection, so of course I was drawn in to find out what this was all about.
The post featured a slide show created by the Online and Social Media Division of the Army titled Social Media Roundup - Introduction to Pinterest, detailing the basics of Pinterest, as well as how government organizations can, and are, using this new addition to social media platforms. The slide show provided a great tutorial on how to use the site and gave definitions to help understand the Pinterest lingo. I wish I had seen this tutorial when someone first tried to explain it to me! For something presented by the Army, an organization I would not normally associate with this type of social media, I was impressed!
But why would the Army create a slide show about Pinterest, a site which many of us associate with recipes, DIY projects and fun kid's crafts, not military "things?" Because the Army is using it. Did you know that the Army, as well as the National Guard and Navy, have Pinterest accounts? Yeah, neither did I. And I could only imagine what they would be pinning on to their boards...photos of Humvees and tanks? Recipes for the Soldiers' favorite MREs? While those could be pretty interesting, it's not typically the type of thing I am looking for when I browse through the thousands of pins on the site. But when I checked out their boards, I was pleasantly surprised. They had boards for DIY Army home decor projects, homecoming ideas and even an "Army Valentine's Day" board with great ideas for how to celebrate the holiday when separated from your loved one. And yes, there was a board labeled "Chow" but it provided pins for homecoming cakes and Army themed party food rather than recipes for how to make MRE food! In addition to the typical boards that are seen on Pinterest, the Army also has many other interesting boards. According to the slide show,
The Army’s Pinterest page features images from various Army operations and goodwill missions.The images are pinned to boards relating to "Army History," technology and Humanitarian Relief efforts. One of their boards even provided glimpses into Basic Training (for those of us who have never been)! There was a little bit of something for everyone, male and female alike.
While Pinterest does not seem a likely place for the Army to be networking, I think it is a brilliant idea on their part. When I first joined Pinterest, pins relating to Army-themed crafts, quotes and photos were lacking. But now with the Army's Pinterest page, there are more of these resources available and grouping them together in a single location cuts down on having to search through multiple websites. This would be the perfect location to compile care package ideas and other ways to show pride in our military, available to spouses or anyone who may be looking for ways to support the troops. The photos and quotes included on the Army's boards also provide inspiration and strength that sometimes is so greatly needed during the long days of a deployment. Along with these uses, Pinterest is a great way for the Army (or other branches of military) to promote their efforts around the world through sharing photos and stories of the various operations taking place.
So what at first seemed like an odd combination (and a bit humorous), now makes sense. With so many people involved in Pinterest, and all social media these days, this is a smart way for the Army to connect and reach out to those who live the military life and those who support it.
Do you use Pinterest? What are your thoughts?