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Day 12: Pinterest, I get you.

Pinterest. It feels like one more wave I am missing as many of my friends (some older than me) surf this new social media space with passion and skill. Many have secretly shared with me that they have spent entire evenings wandering through this lovely virtual garden of ideas. I’ll be honest, it took me months to figure out where this secret garden was and how to get in.  Once I got in, I have to say, it just looked like a virtual garden mess—weeds, pictures, pins, boards and all.  It seemed like just one more social media spot I have to check every morning so I won’t feel like I'm missing something.  Will it never end? My Lucky Charms are getting soggy already!

It was the day my friend came into my office, once again sharing with me her joy of Pinterest, that I decided to take my own advice, jump in, experiment and not quit as soon as I became overwhelmed.  Since this particular friend is an advanced social media junkie, I asked her to explain.  We pulled up the program and she showed me how to create my own Pinterest boards.  She showed me her boards and the kinds of things she likes to look for.  She showed me how to put the “pin” button on my Internet navigation bar so I can easily “pin” things I like. Then, like a parent pushing a child on a bike with no training wheels for the first time, she shouted “you can do it, Peggy!” and went back to work.

I fooled around for awhile, then found a topic I liked—recipes.  I hate cooking and ran out of good recipes years ago so I started wandering around pretty pictures of food.  Those pictures brought me to lovely recipe sites. I began pinning recipes I could make the next week.  When shopping day came, I just went on my pinterest board and quickly compiled my menu. I also wandered around humor sites and found some great pictures—since visual humor is always easy to share, I pinned a few things that I can put on Facebook later when I don’t have anything particularly fabulous to say. Pinterest; I get it. Am I a Pinterest junkie. No.  Can I ride through the garden without training wheels? Oh, yeah.

So here is my advice—it is the same advice I’ve given before.  Don’t give up. Take baby steps and keep taking them until you find the loveliness in the tool.  Find someone who uses it well and ask them for some pointers. Once we understand the tool, then we can do a better job of choosing what works best for each task. Pinterested? Yes, thank you, I am.


Day 4: Failure to launch...Pinterest, Instagram, and the invisible “send” button

Yesterday I shared with you my lovely tweeting successes.  In an effort to communicate authentically and to avoid the appearance that this journey toward social media competency is easy,  I thought it only right to share some of my recent failures as well. They focus on one challenge: “send”.

Failure 1: Instagram.  I noticed some of my Facebook friends are posting modern, trendy-looking pictures.  Yes, they may be pictures of a cup of coffee, or a pumpkin, but they look so artistic.  The answer: Instagram.  Let me tell you, me and my instagram had a fun afternoon.  I took pictures of the dog, of trees, of a squirrel, and, TBH a bunch of pictures of me in the mirror—making different faces.  After all, you never know when you will need a picture of a crabby-looking woman.  Taking Instagram pictures: a success.  Then came the failure.  I tried to figure out how to get these pictures from my iPad to someplace helpful, like a blog post or a Facebook status update.  I went into a few settings pages, hit a few innocuous looking buttons, and before I knew it, a tree popped up on my Facebook page.  Ahhh!!! I didn’t want a tree on Facebook!  Then a horrifying thought crossed my mind.  What if I accidentally sent all those pictures of me in the mirror to 273 of my closest Facebook friends!?  I quickly shut the program down, shuttering at the near-social death experience I had just narrowly escaped.

Then it happened again.

Failure 2:  Pinterest. Everyone seems to be doing it, so I hop on. It was nothing like I expected. I absolutely don’t get it. That is where I got into trouble.  I decide to pin something.  Why not pin my book ReBoot—I like my book. Pinned.  I quickly scroll through a few things and pin some stupid dress, a picture of a dog, and a blog I had never read.  “Well”, I think to my self.  “This is lame. On to the next thing”  Little did I know, that silent send button had once again claimed me as a victim.  There was no official “share” button, no pleasant request, no flashing lights.  But, without my knowledge, my stupid little pins were suddenly public record.  And that wasn’t all.  In my e-mail box I began to get one notification after another that I had new pinterest followers.  “NOoooo!”  I wanted to tell them “Don’t follow ME!  I don’t know what I’m doing!”  I began to philosophize ‘What does this say about followers in this social media world?  what does this say about leaders who randomly hit pin buttons?”  but what I should have asked is “how do these programs decide to “send” my material around the world?”

Here is my lesson. Experimentation with social media is good—you can’t learn if you don’t try things out.  The caution is “beware the silent ‘send’ button”.  Even when you are experimenting, make sure you don’t do anything REALLY embarrassing, because you never know when 273 of your closest friends will get an unintentional glimpse into your social media mistakes.