February 9, 2012

Confession #38: How I learned to stop worrying and use Pinterest to share pictures of cars

Photo: Creative Commons/Flickr/extranoise
I try to stifle a chuckle every time I hear someone call themselves a social media expert. How can you be an expert at something that wasn't even around a decade ago? Does anyone really know how to teach social media? It's like a trial-and-error process. The "social media expert" title is even less applicable to me. Sure, I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook and Twitter, but I was not an early adopter of either of those platforms. I only started using Google+ in earnest a few weeks ago. And Pinterest? That just happened this week.

What's Pinterest? Well ... I don't really know. It involves pictures, that's for sure. And I'm not a picture person. I love words. I'm less hot on images. But ever since I was persuaded into believing Pinterest was a good thing for journalists, I've been struggling to find a way to fit it into my life/work. The object is to make a series of boards based on a certain topic and then "pin" images of certain things you like to those boards, sort of a digital cork board. It's something I never needed in my life, I barely hang pictures or posters on my walls. Then I had an idea.

Cars and Motorcycles section on Pinterest, Feb. 8.
I'm a big fan of cars, if you haven't noticed. I'm also a fan of pretty cars. They can be works of art. Some are so hopeless at being reliable modes of transportation that the only purpose they really serve is to be museum showpieces. And the dead reliable ones are usually ugly as sin or have as much appeal as a kitchen appliance. Because who's ever said, "My God, that's a gorgeous dishwasher." Although I admit, there are some good-looking stainless steel Bosch ones. But never mind.

Cars are great for pictures. There's 15-or-so feet of design and detail that's worth documenting. Whether it's the thin, highly chromed bumpers on a Porsche 356 or the machined metals and surface detailing of a modern Audi, Jaguar or even Fiat 500. A picture says 1,000 words, and if you can't be groping the metal for yourself, a detailed photograph is the best substitute you have to form an opinion and develop an emotion to something a designer hopefully spent months or years crafting.

Edmunds.com, the only automotive site I've found on Pinterest so far, does more than promote their own articles and photo galleries. They share pictures of just great looking machines and amazing roads you'd like to tackle. For a car nut, it's about as alluring as a shopping trip through eBay Motors. And just as much of a time waster.

So yes, I'm still trying to figure out how to fit Pinterest into my life for things other than car lurking and promoting my own stories. I also have to filter through all of the wedding cakes and dresses, since every woman seems to be planning their wedding with it. In the meantime, I can live with it by admiring the backside of an Alfa Romeo. So complicated, this life in the digital age.