Pinterest, like many similarly popular platforms for collaboration and sharing, is a tool that makes more efficient and more visible our propensity to collect, to categorise and to share the information we encounter day to day. It also makes more efficient the process of being directed to useful or interesting information by those whose opinions we value. For the pensions industry, which swirls around, absorbs and creates such a volume of information, the value of a sorting and sifting tool like Pinterest is clear.
Pinterest is so named for good reason: it’s a pinboard for your interests. As you travel around the web, you can ‘pin’ any content – article, image, video, blog post, website, song, anything – to one of your pinboards. The pin appears as an image tile, within the larger mosaic pattern of the page. Users create their own pinboards and give them titles; they could be anything from Music I Love
, to Scandinavian Design Architecture
, to Newsworthy Items
, or Pensions
. Users can pin to their own boards, but they can also see everyone else’s boards, follow them and repin any pins they find interesting onto their own. You can create as many boards as you like, pin as much as you like, and follow anyone you like.
The groundbreaking and lightning-fast success
of Pinterest (it jumped from 418,000 unique monthly visitors in May 2011 to nearly 12 million unique monthly visitors in January 2012) is unsurprising, in a sense, because it’s just so very useful. It’s also so easy to use, and so beautiful in its simplistic design. It’s much more visual than Twitter and competitor pinning platforms, which means users are able to absorb the gist of a board or topic quickly and without dedicating time to reading masses of text. Pinterest syncs seamlessly with Twitter and Facebook, which allows pinners to share their new and old pins and build a consistent and well rounded digital presence; this is important for both individuals looking to raise their social capital, and for businesses with a goal of projecting a consistent brand.
The reason Pinterest is so successful, in my opinion, is that it appeals to three core types of people:
1. The Collectors
Some people love to collect. They love to accumulate stuff. Stamps, books, famous quotations, trinkets, things that make them think or smile. They like to collect things because it gives them a sense of accomplishment, at having built something, and because they can reflect on their collection later.
2. The Organisers
Some people love to organise. They love to file, to sort, to arrange and to categorise their knowledge, possessions, friends, acquaintances, or experiences. These are the guys who fill album after album of photos in date or theme order; the guys who apply something resembling the Dewey decimal system to their CD collection.
3. The Sharers
Some people love to share. They collect, learn and accomplish with the express purpose in mind of then sharing their experiences and knowledge with other people; this is either with the goal of raising their own profile or status, or for the sheer love of sharing as an act.
Pinterest is a virtual playground for all three types; and there’s probably a bit of all those types in every one of us.
on Pinterest certainly cover a wide range of interests, but one in particular is dedicated to my interest in the life cycles and development of Financial Markets
, while another is dedicated to the topic of Pensions
. If you visit my Pensions
board, you’ll very quickly understand at a glance my general ethos: I have posted quotes I find inspiring or interesting that relate to pensions, links to blog posts that explain my view of the world well, pictures of people I admire, and infographics that I think explain some core issues effectively. This Pinterest board is the fastest way for someone who doesn’t know me to understand my view of the world of pensions, and be directed to what I think are some pretty interesting resources. As a consultant and a business owner, making my views and my proposition clear is a vital driver of success, and Pinterest helps me to do this on a personal level but also on an organisational one. Redington is the first pensions organisation on Pinterest because we believe that being visible, clear and accessible - digitally and in the way we conduct business - is how we become a positive force in the industry.
Pinterest lets me build a visual representation of my views, but I also use it to follow other people’s boards. Following other people’s boards means that I am able to piggyback the people who I think are knowledgeable, insightful or interesting, and be introduced to what they find interesting. Just as a friend might mention in conversation that I should look at this or that website or article, people on Pinterest point me in the right direction for new and valuable information. Through following these boards, I’m also introduced serendipitously to things I didn’t know I was interested in: famous quotes, inspiring recipes, interior design ideas, and cool products I might never have found otherwise.
Pinterest could become a vast resource in the world of Pensions if the interesting people in our industry start to use it; in doing so, they will be making visible and accessible their stock of insight and knowledge, and letting us all piggyback each other as we struggle with the challenges of the old age provision concept. Increased adoption of Pinterest in Pensions could create a world in which the consensus view of the industry is accessible and visible, and it could harness the insight of people who may or may not be officially part of the industry but still have valuable information to share. It could bubble up to the fore the best ideas, rather than the loudest ones, and it could revolutionise the way we communicate with each other by making it fun.
The old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved; the answer to the pensions industry’s problems is far from clear, and the more we share and communicate with each other, the closer we move to finding real solutions.