Every social media site seemingly has its own personality. Wanna get to know other people? Creep around on Facebook. Need to share your random thoughts? Tweet it out on Twitter. Prefer to express yourself in pictures and GIFs? See you around Tumblr.
While I've had a Pinterest account for over a year, I couldn't shake my initial impression of the site. Pinterest seemed perfect for people who wanted to swap recipes, crafts, and wedding ideas. There was cute stuff on there. But when you're already committing time to other social media outlets (and probably more time than you should), a site needs to be more than just cute to earn time and attention.
If you're not familiar with Pinterest - the premise is simple and the site is easy to navigate. Essentially, Pinterest is a bookmarking site. A "pin" is an image that is accompanied by a description and/or a link to an external web page. "Boards" allow you to collect and organize your pins. Users can browse pins that are posted in a variety of categories ranging from food, drink, crafts, and fashion to science, technology, history, and literature. If someone has posted a pin that you like, you can re-pin it onto one of your boards. If you're browsing the internet and come across a webpage you want to save, Pinterest makes it easy to simply paste the link and post it to one of your boards. Most boards are public - but you can have up to three "secret boards" that only you can view. The Yummy Life has a great tutorial on using Pinterest, and there are videos to walk you through the process as well (such as this one).
After trying to find a way to pull together all of the random links, articles, and videos for forensics I had bookmarked on various computers, e-mailed to myself, or screen-grabbed on my phone - it dawned on me. "Why not just put them all on Pinterest?" The site became the perfect organizational tool and a way to share ideas while collecting a few hidden gems. Plus, the Pinterest app is widely available for free on Apple and Android devices. Need more convincing? Here are ten ways you can utilize Pinterest to prepare for forensics (listed in no particular order):
1. Save articles and topic ideas for public speaking events. The first two on our list make use of secret boards. Sure, you may be able to bookmark an article on your desktop into a folder or e-mail the link with a description to yourself. The benefit of creating a secret board for topics are two-fold. First, you can keep all your topics together in one central location. Second, you can use the description box to leave yourself notes such as how the article can be turned into a speech topic or what person might be interested in reading it. By using a secret board, you don't have to worry about anyone stumbling across your great ideas.
2. Create a reading list of potential interp pieces. Again, another great use of the secret board. Sometimes you'll stumble across a short story online, but you don't have time to look up the author, search to see if and where its published, only to need to bookmark the site (if it isn't on Amazon). Plus, if your school is responsible for making the purchases, you're often encouraged to lump everything together. The description box, again, can be used to make notes about potential performers/events. By creating a secret board for interp literature pins, you're able to collect a list of options to return to when you're ready to order materials.
3. Browse quotations to use as exercises for limited preparation speakers. When you log in to Pinterest, you can click the red icon in the upper left hand corner of the screen. You'll be provided with a list of categories from which to choose. Clicking "Quotes" will allow you to browse and re-pin from hundreds of quotations. Whether you're working on impromptu, extemp, or debate - using quotations to practice analysis, interpretation, and argumentation is always a useful exercise.
4. Bookmark infographics and interesting information for attention getting devices or examples. You don't always have to have an immediate use for a pin. I love collecting bits of trivia, stories, and examples. You can browse the technology, geek, science, nature, and history categories to collect things that are "neat-to-know." They can be added to a limited prep speaker's repertoire of knowledge or used as attention getting devices or examples in a public speech.
5. Hold onto inspirational sayings for team pump-up talks. Sometimes you need to say more than, "Speak pretty everybody!" You'll find plenty of inspirational and motivational quotations on Pinterest to save for those days when warm-ups aren't doing the trick.
6. Manage a playlist of videos for performance tips and ideas. Have you ever watched a video and thought, "That character is hilarious! They would be great in an H.I." or "I'd love to incorporate some of this movement into a Duo!" Videos can be great inspiration for performances. Use clips of celebrity impersonators to discuss vocal distinction. Cartoons are a great way to introduce basic, broad characters to new performers. Is there a cinematic clip that can inspire a dramatic performer? It's easier to hop over to a board of videos to reference than it is to try to search for the video you want (or worse, try to describe what you watched a few weeks ago).
7. Illustrate a variety of style options for tournament appropriate attire. Research indicates that anywhere from 70 - 90% of communication is non-verbal. That means that to some degree, a competitor's appearance is communication a lot about that person before they begin their event. Most forensics tournaments encourage looking tidy and professional, but this doesn't mean competitors must spend a great deal of money to "look the part." A tournament attire board can illustrate a broad range of what is considered tournament appropriate attire. Pins on pairing shirts and ties, versatile and comfortable shoes, suits, hem lengths, and accessories can inform a student on what to look for or provide guidance in creating a professional appearance with the clothes they already own.
8. Hair, make-up, and grooming tutorials can be useful. As previously mentioned, forensics isn't a beauty pageant but our appearances send non-verbal communication. A competitor's hairstyle or make-up doesn't have to be elaborate to be polished and professional. Still, discussing personal appearances remains a sensitive subject. A Pinterest board of "tournament ready" looks for hair, make-up, and facial hair can be an effective supplement to general discussions of what a coach or team considers competition appropriate appearances. Individuals can browse the pins for inspiration, ideas, and tutorials to achieve a look that is within their comfort zone without feeling singled out or embarrassed.
9. Collect remedies for tournament troubles. Speakers lose their voices, pop buttons, rip panty hose and face all sorts of other tribulations at tournaments. If you're lucky, you have back-up supplies in your bag. If not, it always helps to have tips saved from the DIY and health & fitness boards to help you out.
10. Add flair to tournament hosting with recipes and decorating tips. Let's not forget the hallmark of Pinterest: recipes and decorating. Coaches have their hands full when it comes to running a tournament. Tournament hosting, however, can be an awesome exercise in team work and hospitality. Pinterest is great at providing ideas that utilize items you already own. Browse party planning and decorating boards for tournament theme ideas. Students can be assigned tasks from making signs to centerpieces, or even simple recipes to put in the lounge. There are plenty of opportunities for students to help host an awesome tournament while coaches are busy with entries, schematics, and running tab.
There's no limit to the number of ways you can utilize Pinterest in your forensics preparation. You can keep some boards secret but you can also share pins with other competitors and coaches. Make sure to follow our boards on Pinterest for inspiration, ideas, items from the store, links to articles about forensics, and anything else we think would be of interest to fellow speech geeks!