Using Pinterest To “Pin” For Digital Activism

Pinterest, a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects, has become all the rage on the Internet.  As a matter of fact, Pinterest is currently the fastest growing social network.  According to the Christian Science Monitor, it is “currently netting 11 million visitors per month (68 percent of whom are reported to be female)…  Just a month after opening the site to the public, the founders were shocked to have a waiting list they say is in the tens of thousands.”

Pinterest is best known for its many pins of wedding dresses and interior decorating, but we have been playing around with it and have found a few ways to use it for digital activism.  Since there is a larger number of women using the platform, many women’s rights activists has used Pinterest to organize around their causes.  Most recently, when Susan G. Komen for the Cure was accused of undermining women’s reproductive health, pro-choice activists created the Komen Can Kiss My Mammagram pinboard, where supporters posted various images and videos acknowledging their grievances with Komen.

Pinterest member Jennifer Stauss Windrum used the platform to create another movement.  Her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, although she never smoked a cigarette in her life.  Windrum create the WTF? (Where’s the Funding) for Lung Cancer pinboard to show that anyone can get lung cancer, and that it should be as well-funded as other types of cancer.  Windrum discussed how Pinterest has helped her on the Daily Dot.

To enable others to become great advocates for a cause, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to access and share content. With the boards, I can curate a lot of content from my blog and other resources and neatly place it in one spot. Pinterest has not only helped advance our advocacy efforts, but also has introduced us to a new set of advocates as well.

The Flaming Vegan, a blog dedicated to the vegan lifestyle, recently discussed using Pinterest for promoting veganism and animal rights.  The author states that photos can speak larger than words to change perceptions.

…Many people have a distorted image of what a vegan eats and getting your carnivore friends excited about Tempah or tofu is a fantastic way to promote vegan meals. As mentioned, I pin photos from all my blog posts and once visitors arrive at my blog they can find out more information on veganism and why I’m a vegan…  You’ll also notice that cute photos of dogs and cats are very popular on Pinterest. So I regularly post videos and images of lambs, cows, and pigs playing in an open environment. The people who view the videos have no idea that I’m trying to promote compassion and understanding but these images begin to undo previous misconceptions. My goal is that they remember the video of the cow playing with a ball in a field instead of being in a pen standing in their own manure the next time they are looking at a menu…

The Trayvon Martin case has largely been a social media-driven campaign.  Liberal blog Think Progress created the Hoodies for Trayvon pinboard, where users can find photos of celebrities and journalists wearing hoodies, demonstrating the harmlessness of the clothing.  Doing a search for “trayvon” on Pinterest will bring up hundreds of similar pins, giving an overview of this online movement.

Pinterest has only been around for a few short months, but it has already made an impact in many lives.

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