I’ve always been a little bit cautious about social media. Not that I dislike it – the dangers seem to be in liking it too much. I don’t want to get sucked in to the point of losing precious writing time (and typing time, now that I have to be careful to avoid RSI).
I used to write daily in my private LiveJournal page, though eventually I got tired of the limitations of the format. In 2009 I tried Twitter thanks to a recommendation from my publisher and have loved it ever since. Facebook, on the other hand, didn’t appeal. I prefer ‘follow’ to ‘friend’ for a start, I got spam instead of a reply when I tried to get in contact with them about the basic page one of my publishers set up for me, it has had so much bad press, and I really don’t need another social media account to keep up with.
Except… I just signed up with another one – Pinterest. Collecting cool links to awesome stuff by ‘pinning’ images into themed boards sounded like fun. After a bit of investigation into the pros and cons, I signed up and have been having a fabulous time ever since.
Pinterest, to me, is a perfect companion to Twitter. I used to trawl through blogs about writing and books each morning. Now I only subscribe to a few blog feeds, knowing that anything interesting and exceptional is going to turn up as a link in a tweet. What used to take hours takes minutes.
This didn’t work so well for the art, craft and design blogs. You really need a visual hook to get you to follow a link to a website. People tweet ‘This picture is awesome’ all the time, but usually it’s not so I’ve got into the habit of ignoring those tweets and I’ve stuck to my RSS feeds.
Well, now all I have to do to see the latest awesome visual stuff is to drop into Pinterest once a day. But that’s not all. Like Twitter, Pinterest can be a way to communicate with friends and fans. I have all my books up on boards so that fans can ‘repin’ them knowing they are safe (ie. the links don’t lead to spam). I’ve started pinning images of objects and places that inspired my stories, and another set that could inspire more. I’ve set up a casting wish list board, where I’ve selected actors to play characters in my stories. I’ve created a board with reference books I’ve found useful, one for books I’ve enjoyed, and more.
The site does have some teething problems – mainly pins linking to spam and images ending up in categories that they don’t belong in. You can’t alter links in the iPhone ap so I always put new pins into a “Links still to be checked” board to investigate when I’m on my computer. I also feel it isn’t right to pin something without crediting the source, so if the pin links to Google or Tumbler and I can’t find the original source I’ll un-pin it.
The hardest board to fill so far has been the Favourite Books one. I prefer to link to the author’s site rather than favour one bookstore over another, but too many authors have terrible sites without good images to pin or useful pages to link to – and some don’t have sites at all. I know I’ll be mentioning that in the “Promoting Your Book” panel… yesterday. (I’m writing this blog post and scheduling it to publish while I’m away.)
Like Twitter, you don’t have to sign up to see someone’s Pinterest boards. So, whether you’re in Pinterest already, or would just like to have a look at mine, head on over to my boards. Hope you enjoy them!