Four Reasons Why Pinterest Is Easy and Effective

Scenarios USA By Scenarios USA, July 31, 2012

by Holly Epstein Ojalvo

When I saw the news that #waywire – an online news video site for teens – was going to launch, I thought it looked really cool. It also reminded me a little of a few other resources designed to inform or empower kids or amplify their voice.

Yet none of these other resources was mentioned in any of the articles about #waywire.

Why not? I wondered. After all, people interested in #waywire would probably like to know what other content and outlets for expression are out there for young people.

Doing some Google searches turned up pretty paltry results, including articles written years ago.

It struck me that a master list of what might be called youth empowerment resources would be handy – for young people themselves, as well as for teachers, counselors, parents and others.

At the same time, I’d been meaning to try out Pinterest,

which I’d read is useful and popular not just for personal interests and projects, but also for education and media.

So I registered for Pinterest, created a board called “youth voice & empowerment,” and started “pinning” sites that seek to inform and engage young people, such as #waywire and it’s related resources, and to enable them to express themselves creatively and politically.

Here are four of the best things about using a Pinterest board to compile resources:

– It’s visual. Scanning the page gives you an immediate sense of each site’s look and feel, which tells you much more than a traditional article or hyperlinked blog post would.

– It’s easy to update. The page started off with a handful of “pins,” and as of this writing there are 50. Of course, I can continue to add to it (or delete from it). So much more valuable than an article that will quickly become outdated.

– It’s effortless. Anytime I visit a site that belongs on the board, I just click the Pinterest “pin it” button that I installed on my browser. The site automatically lets me choose the image and text to create the “pin.” It takes all of, oh, five seconds.


– It’s shareable. Other Pinterest members have followed the board (and “repinned” some of the items), and others have liked it on Facebook and tweeted it. Users can comment on individual items, too – I hope people will start doing that. And if I like, I can invite others to contribute to the board.

I’m no Pinterest expert, but just this one experience suggests that the possibilities of a digital bulletin board are vast.

Boards can become collections of inspiration, examples and models, resources, citations and more. You can use Pinterest for professional growth, personal development, group work, collaboration or publishing. Teachers can use them to develop lesson plans or share ideas with colleagues. Students can use them to save resources for group projects or create presentations.

Pinterest is equally compelling for silly or serious material, and boards can be rewarding to explore whether the viewer is taking a quick glance or digging deeper. And it’s so easy and effortless, it’s actually kind of fun.

Already, I’m thinking about what my next board should be. Any ideas?


Scenarios USA summary:

Pinterest is a useful tool in engaging and amplifying youth voices.

It also unifies causes and organizations in one accessible place.

Holly Epstein Ojalvo is the founder of a startup that seeks to engage young people in current events and social action. Previously, she was an editor for The New York Times Learning Network and was an award-winning high school teacher and student newspaper adviser. Her freelance work includes articles for SchoolBook and curriculum for Scenarios USA. You can follow her on Twitter @heoj.

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