Pinterest as Portfolio

Portfolio - side view

Pinterest. It’s been called “Napster for Housewives” in Forbes, and Laura McKenna notes that its “lethal combination of social media competition and escapism” hooks the “Aspirational Housewife” in us all.

To hearken back to a 1980s IABC study I read while a university student, is it the “Velvet Ghetto” of social networks? Or, is there more to it? Are there business uses for Pinterest beyond fashion and food? Nikki Pilkington points out the user makeup is a different story in the UK, where men visit the site more frequently.

While I’m still working out the answers to that for brands such as my own employer Dell (I’m part of the team that’s trying things out with some of the company’s first boards in Pinterest), I stumbled across one idea that I think has merit for personal business use – a visual professional portfolio.

I wish I could say I thought of this myself, but I actually saw it somewhere else first. Kelly Barrett created a “Kelly Barrett, the Professional” board and, if memory serves me correct, Rachael King tweeting that is how it first crossed my radar. Then, I also ran across the “my CV” board from Nadav Raviv – not part of that male UK contingent mentioned before, but rather a Pinterest user in Israel.

So, I took the idea from others before me and started my own professional portfolio board. Originally, I dubbed it my “Visual CV,” after memories of the VisualCV networking site I’d joined in 2008, but never used. It sounded cool back then when it was in “early Public Beta phase,” but it always seemed like something that would require too much of my time to set up. So, when I got an email toward the end of 2011 saying it was shutting down, it was no surprise and I congratulated myself on not having invested much time on it. But, it turns out the rumors of its demise were greatly exaggerated, or more accurately, that someone else decided to revive it through an acquisition.

And, I still think VisualCV sounds like a good idea. But pinning, is just so easy! If you’re a creative professional (but maybe not this creative) in this day & age, most likely you can find lots of pinnable material online to illustrate your work. It’s as easy to start as doing an ego searchon Google.  (and if the tips in that link from Lifehacker don’t help you with it, then you might have a “Google Credibility” issue you need to address)

Once you’ve searched around and found some items you’re particularly proud of, you can pin away! Adding the “pin it” button to your browser makes it that much easier. Here is the result of one afternoon I spent pinning: Portfolio – Laura P Thomas.

Just keep a few quick tips in mind:

  • Pinterest automatically arranges items in your board in order you pin them. If you want chronological order to the board, you’ll need to be a bit more methodical in your pinning.
  • If you have a career that spans more than the past decade, it’s likely to be tough to find the old stuff online. There are ways you can get creative to fix this. Upload an image you’d like to use for illustration to some place like Flickr, Facebook or your G+ account (somewhere you don’t mind pointing people toward).
  • Even when it is online, not everything you want to showcase will have a pretty image. This can be addressed in the creative way listed above and supplemented with a link in the description to point to more detail about the actual project or the resulting media story.

Since this was not an original idea of mine, it’s likely that many of you may have already created professional boards on Pinterest. If so, please share links and tips in the comments!

Photo via Creative Commons courtesy Bill Ohl

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