Miss A Columnist

Tracy Brennan is a working teacher momma to her daughter Abigail, born Nov. 2009, and manages the blog Liberating Working Moms: One Voice At A Time. She was born and raised in South Florida, and studied Journalism and Mass Media at New York University. After college, she moved across the country to the Pacific Northwest. This move and giant change was spurred on after she became an eyewitness to the 9/11 attacks. She knew life could change at a moment’s notice and felt that she needed to make changes to find her true calling.

Once she fell in love with residing in Washington State, and fell in love with her now husband, she decided to go back to school to become a Secondary English Teacher. She began teaching in 2007 and has 1.5 years of working momma status under her belt.

The Pinterest Phenomenon

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

A year and a half ago, a new form of social media, Pinterest, began sucking moms in. And with this came the a new meaning for the word “pinning,” where it no longer referred to that childhood birthday party game with the donkey. Rather, “pinning” is what you do when you have a light bulb moment and need to store this thought immediately.

Pinterest co-founders, Ben Silberman and Evan Sharp, created this new lingo by developing a way for people to electronically store and categorize all that is on their mind. What makes this a social media phenomenon is the ability to share these thoughts with others via having “followers,” as well as following the boards of others. And who best to take this “pinning” trend to the next level than the 21st century mom. From meal planning, to style boards, to fun activities to do with your kids, moms are finding their lives falling into place with the support of their pins.

Pinterest is simple to use. With a few instructions from the site about dragging an already formatted “Pin It” button to your browser’s bookmark toolbar, you are ready to start pinning. Are you gathering ideas for a birthday party? Simply click on the “pin it” button, click an image from the website to associate with the pin, save it to the appropriate board or create a new one, and BAM, it’s stored for you to glean back at when you are ready to use the inspiration. As well, Pinterest automatically links your pin to the URL it was pinned from. It’s that easy to operate and access at a later date.

Busy working mom and blogger, Beth Anne Ballance, finds that Pinterest helps her coordinate planning meals for her family. “The BEST thing about Pinterest as a busy mom is finding recipes. I can meal plan, create new things for my family, and even find short-cuts.  Like how to freeze individual servings of soup in a muffin tin, who would have thought?”

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Another big part of Pinterest is the fact that instead of having a million thoughts rolling around your mind of things to do, things to get, and things to find, creating category boards helps you say organized. Ballance added, “Pinterest keeps [meal planning] all together, rather than me printing out recipes and losing them in my car or under a shuffle of bills.”

Stay-at-home mom and fellow blogger, Diana Stone, concurs with this as well. “As I build up more pins and use Pinterest frequently, I see it as a valuable organizing tool,” she said. And the organizing Stone, a former elementary school teacher, is using Pinterest for lately has been to collect home school ideas for her daughter Bella, who is approaching pre-school age, as well as gift ideas, recipes, and fun toddler activities. She added, “Play ideas is the board I use a lot. With a toddler it’s nice to have these handy when we have a slow day at home.”

A way that makes accessing these ideas easily is via the Pinterest App. Whether you are at the store and want to pick up crafts for a project, or you want to see the ingredients needed in a recipe, all the pins are at your fingertips. And when it comes to putting together a new meal, having easy access to a recipe on your phone to look back to while cooking, makes a mom’s day run that much smoother.

In addition, a major part of this pinning phenomenon is the social media aspect. Once you start following others, you get to see what they are pinning. If you see something you dig, you can repin it to one of your idea boards, thus allowing you not to have to scour the internet for that tutorial on how to make tissue paper pom poms. Someone has already done the work for you. What this does, though, is allow Pinterest to be a driving force for spreading the word about trend setting. For example, one might first learn about TOMS coming out with ballet flats for Spring 2012 via Pinterest. Once that pin is posted, it goes viral until all the people in your circle know about it and spread the word to those in their following lists.

In fact, repinning seems to be the way to go. Ballance mostly collects pins from others when searching for something new to make or an idea to use for her son Harrison’s upcoming second birthday party.  “I do search some or browse popular pins, but I love seeing what my friends post.  It’s inspiring to find things I wouldn’t normally think to search for.”

Stone, though, sums up all that Pinterest can do for you when she said, “I see something perfect and I NEVER have to think about where to find it again. I just pin it.

And just like any form of social media, you can get sucked in. “I fall asleep pinning,” Stone said. But it’s so worth it for her. She adds, “I love to see what others find beautiful or funny, sad or special. There is something about knowing that about others that makes Pinterest special.”

What she is referring to is the fact that some people pin moving words to motivate them, funny images or sayings to remind them to laugh, or the simplicity of a special snapshot that brought a smile to their face. And it’s all catalogued for you when you need a pick me up to your day.

Ultimately, Pinterest can easily work for anyone in need of inspiration or motivation. You might even discover something you never knew you were searching for, and you could even find like-minded individuals to bounce ideas off of as the Pinterest community grows exponentially on a daily basis.

Pinterest is at an invite-only phase. I have six free invites I’d like to give away to the readers here. If you would like to get in on the pinning action, either leave your email in a comment below, or email me personally at watracy at gmail dot com. And feel free to link up to my boards so we can start finding ideas from each other. You can also find Ballance pinning here and Stone over here.

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