Showing Off, Visually & Virtually: Building personal connections and institutional relevancy through Pinterest

Matt Andress, USA

Why would a museum want to use Pinterest, the image-based social bookmarking service? As it turns out, the eye candy of Pinterest provides a flexible platform for museums and cultural institutions to provide yet another way to reach their target audience while simultaneously accessing troves of information about their followers. Much like Twitter, Pinterest has a utopian community feel, where the cold, detached reality of communicating with others through digitally-shared information is somehow lively, organic, and personal.

I will answer the questions:

  • How are museums utilizing Pinterest as part of their digital presence?
  • How can Pinterest connect the dots between museum/patron, our collections/other institutions’ collections, casual observer/customer, etc.?
  • How is Pinterest being used to increase participation and empowerment of museum patrons?
  • How is Pinterest being used to garner information about patrons?

I will also explore some of the inherent limitations of the service:

  • As of today, the lack of an API is one of the largest glaring omissions and stumbling blocks for really interesting platform innovations, as Pinterest is locked down tighter than San Quentin; third party integration is limited to RSS feeds (insert yawn here)
  • Even more poignant, copyright may be the Achilles’ Heel of the whole platform. We will see how that plays out.