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Pinterest and breaking news: The Whitney Houston experiment


Social media is always evolving.

I remember when I turned to Google for breaking news. Now, I search Twitter.

I remember when I only used Facebook to communicate with close friends. Now I have more than 21,000 subscribers.

I remember when everyone stopped using Digg. Now … Oh, that one is the same.

But anyway, when the news broke that Whitney Houston had died, my thoughts were, in order, sadness, disbelief, Pinterest.

Yes, Pinterest.

People - even so-called social media experts will have you believe that the platform is a female centric collection of bridal gown fabric and paint swatches. It is, but it’s much more. I’ve been using Pinterest in unique ways for a while now and I’m starting to amass quite the following for it.

Last night I created a Pinterest board specifically devoted to photos of Whitney Houston and treated it as a breaking news vehicle. While Pinterest doesn’t really allow for the conversation that comes with such a big story, it’s a sharing powerhouse. What is it that they say about a picture being worth a thousand words? Very true in this case. I saw many repins, some comments and several new followers after all was said and done.

So is Pinterest the next big platform for breaking news? It could be.

People already get that social media has to be social and engaging to work. That’s why they use it. Media outlets took their time - some more than others - but they get it now. You have to be creative in how you engage. And you should always be where the people are. So that means if you hate Google+, you still have to embrace it because that’s where the conversation is.

In this case, people are flocking to Pinterest. And there are going to be people that want more proof of ROI before jumping in with both feet, but think about the possibilities.

I already have a plan for the next breaking news event and how to best utilize Pinterest. I’ll even share it with you now. I’m going to ask my followers on all of my social networks for their memories and thoughts and favorite moments and then search for those items and create a board. It’s similar to how I use Spotify to be social - ask a question and turn it into a playlist. Speaking of Spotify, it just so happens that I created a playlist called "Tribute to Whitney Houston."

And just to be clear, I’m not saying Pinterest isn’t good at what it’s currently being used for. On the contrary, although I do take issue with people that say men don’t use Pinterest. That part is not true, and in fact I’m quite proud at some of the unique boards I’ve made, including ones devoted to 80s nostalgia, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and Ron Swanson.

So the next time someone asks you if you are using Pinterest, hopefully you’ll say yes. And hopefully you’ll look at it in more ways than one. The platform seems big enough for bookmarking wedding favors and pinning about breaking news. And if you haven’t, I’d be honored if you checked out my Pinterest boards and all my unique and fun uses at

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