Although many social networking sites are blocked in high schools, Pinterest is one that can be used for academic purposes, and schools should get on board.
Pinterest, a social networking site that allows users to “pin” pictures to a themed bulletin board, has expanded in popularity since its debut in 2010. Some colleges now use social networking sites to raise student awareness.
Students are too busy in today’s world to stop to look at announcement boards around campus or read newsletters they find in their mailboxes. The majority of this generation gathers information from online newspapers, tweets or Facebook statuses.
In one minute, there are 1,090 Pinterest visitors, 7,630 stumbles on StumbleUpon, 175,000 tweets, 700,000 Facebook messages sent, and 2 million YouTube video views, according to Social Jumpstart, a social media resource for small businesses.
Students turn to the Internet for almost everything. It started with Myspace and now there is Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, StumbleUpon and so many others. Pinterest is not only rising in the list of popular social networking sites for students, it’s also catching the eye of colleges.
Colleges turning to the one thing that today’s students are consumed by is an interesting and effective way of conveying information.
People may use Pinterest to plan a wedding, decorate their home, explore interests or hobbies or share recipes. However, the Chronicle of Higher Education found that university libraries are getting even more creative with Pinterest.
Saint Mary’s College of California is using Pinterest to market De La Salle Week, a celebration of the life of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the college’s Lasallian heritage. School officials are using the social networking site to feature photos of and information about the saint on their board, making the information more interesting than plain text or a flyer on a bulletin board.
Virginia Tech is planning a renovation of the school’s library, and through Pinterest, school officials are able to express ideas about paint colors and different kinds of workspaces. This online gallery is completely different from physical boards for book art, historical library photos and tips for surviving the end of the semester, because the information on them is available anytime and anywhere.
Lastly, at the University of Nevada at Reno, a reference and instruction librarian uses Pinterest to post images of things that may be missing from the library. Finally schools are understanding that the more information is available online, the more likely that students will see and respond to it.
Colleges using social networking sites, especially Pinterest, to reach out to a broader student population is a brilliant way to communicate with today’s students. It’s much more efficient for students to just log into Pinterest than for administrators to expect a newsletter or announcement to reach everyone.
It’s time for colleges to update the way they release information to accommodate the way people choose to receive their news.
There’s no reason to get rid of tangible reminders, but expanding to include new social media is a smart move that schools like the UA should make.