Is Pinterst Your New Google?

When I need to find a v-neck white blouse with a bow, I search Pintrest. If I have no clue what to make for dinner but I’ve got a pound of shrimp, I search Pintrest. More and more often I find myself frustrated with the search results I’m getting from Google or Bing but entirely happy with what I find on Pintrest. Why are so many others making this same switch?

While Pintrest doesn’t have the same saturation as Facebook or other social sites, yet, it is growing quickly both in the U.S. and internationally. Some still see Pintrest as a place to store some recipes or craft ideas, but it has become so much more. According to Penny Fox in an article on Busines2Community.com, “At it’s core, Pintrest is the place for people to plan and aspire about what they can do to enrich their lives.” So yes I have a board for recipes and one for crafts, but I have about thirty others too. I have quotes that inspire me, images and quotes that evoke the right mood for the novels I’ve written and pins that just make me think or laugh. So all the results I get when I search the site are important things that were worth saving to other people. I get search results with a personal touch.

In the article Ms. Fox also notes that understanding your search results on Pintrest is much easier because, “Most people are visual learners. We connect faster with images because it’s easier to scan visual search results over a list of text links.”

So on Pintrest my search for a blouse or recipe will net me images that I can scan to find what I am looking for. But the benefits don’t stop there. Once I find an image I like I can click on it and follow it to it’s source. More and more often that source is a retail site where I can purchase the item I want. Large retailers and one-woman Etsy shops are quickly tapping into the power of the Pintrest search and creating their own searchable pin boards.

But it’s when I am looking for ideas more than a specific item that Pintest far exceeds the other search engines. If I’m planning a cruise I can find ideas for things to pack, excursions in each port, hints from others who have already taken the trip, and pictures of the ship and ports. I can combine all of these and save them to a board that I create. When I’m ready to pack or book excursions,I can refer back to that board and easily find what I need (again, the images help a lot). Or, I can just look at them and dream (which is half the fun of planning a trip).

Finally, through my searching I can find others who share my interests and connect with them. Another feature that is not available on the big search engines. When I log onto Pintrest I see pins from people I follow, people I share interests with. The latest fall fashions, best healthy recipes, hottest pictures of beautiful men and uplifting quotes that speak to me are lined up on my home page and change often. It is easy to get pulled in and just keep scrolling and clicking and scrolling (you get the idea).

source: 5 Min for Mom.com
source: 5 Min for Mom.com

If you need a Euro to dollars conversion, go with google. The web address of your local dentist–bing it. But for most of life’s other dilemmas, I say, throw it up on Pintrest and see what comes up. I think you’ll be amazed at the results.

Is Pintrest your new go to search engine? What’s your favorite way to use Pintrest? As always I’d love to hear from you.

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Work From Home Wardrobe – Fall 2015

It’s true, when you work from home you can spend all day in your PJ’s. (Trust me, I have.) But eventually you’re gonna need to leave the house and it’s nice to put on something besides yoga pants and an over-sized tee shirt (standard writer’s uniform).

Since I don’t work in an office it’s hard to justify spending much on clothes but I like to get a few new pieces each season. I’m rushing fall, I know. It’s still closer to 100 than 50 degrees here in Memphis but the new season of Project Runway and back to school have fall clothes on my brain. I perused my go-to fashion sites (see list below) and a few stores and came up with the following list of key fall pieces.

  1. Utility Jacket. utility jacket collageMy niece wore one on her two-week trip to Europe. It was a great choice because it went with almost all her casual clothes, had a ton of pockets and was roomy enough to layer another jacket or sweater underneath on cold days. I have one that I picked up a few years ago at Target that I love to wear with jean or dress it up more with black pants and animal prints.

 

 

click image to see more on my Pintrest fall fashion page
click image to see more on my Pintrest fall fashion page

2. Leather leggings. I would be more accurate to say Pleather leggings (no way I’m springing for the real thing). They look a lot like black skinny jeans but with a little more edge. Bonus: they are super comfy for travel. Most of the mall stores will have them for around $15-20 a pair. A small investment to look a little more cosmo or dangerous.

 

click image to see more accessories on my Pintrest page
click image to see more accessories on my Pintrest page

3. Gold Jewelry. It’s easy to stack necklaces, rings and bracelets in simple geometric shapes and not have them look overwhelming. Charming Charlies has an entire wall of short, medium and long necklaces for you to mix and create your own look.

 

 

 

There’s a few other trends I’ve got my eye on like fringe. It would be easy to add a fringy skirt or sweater to pieces I already have for the holidays. Chunky heeled shoes are growing on me too. I’ve already pinned a few pair of leather ones to my Pintrest accessory page (click here to see.)

What trends are you adding for fall? Which ones are you avoiding? Comment below and link to your latest pins or favorite sites. If you’re not sure yet, here’s a list of links to a few of my favorite fashion bloggers. Click on each name to visit the site.

Wendy’s Lookbook

Penny Chic

The Budget Fashionista

 

The Best Social Media Sites for Introverts

I’ve outed myself before and I’m going to do it again. Hi, I’m Karen. (This is where you all say “Hi, Karen” in unison). And I am an introvert. I’ve been one my entire life, but I’m really just beginning to grasp what this means in my life. 

The first step was admitting I was an introvert. Seriously. There are still those who know me who might question this because I’ve done such a great job of hiding it from myself and others for so many years. Let’s face it, being introverted is socially unacceptable. Introverts are seen as the death of the party, the non-team players, the people you have to work really hard to get to know. 

So you would think that the proliferation of social media would make reaching out or being reached out to so much easier. In a way it does but while some social sites make our lives easier others make us want to dig deeper into our caves. And within each site there can be some areas where we shine and others we avoid. So, where can you find introverts on social media? (and why would you want to?) Let me start with the first question.


Pintrest is the most introvert-friendly form of all the social media sites. It’s all about pinning/sharing things that are about you, but in a round about way. No one expects you to post personal photos or specific personal information. It also doesn’t require you to be present to participate. You can pin anytime of day or night and the info you pinned doesn’t disappear quickly. The most fantastic feature is the search bar which allow you to find others who’ve self-identified as introverts. The first time you find a page of memes about being introverted you know you’ve found home.

Despite it’s name Instagram can work well for introverts. The trick is to follow people who post exciting pictures and information and never post anything yourself, ever. I’ve found lots of my favorite shows, movies, celebrities, designers, etc. on Instagram and I give them hearts for their efforts often. This is a great medium for people with exciting lives and people, like me, who are happy to stand on the sidelines and cheer for them.  
 

 

Facebook is slightly less introvert friendly, but still not too intimidating. The best feature is connecting with people you already know in a no-pressure situation. You can see vacation pics, note when their kids reach major milestones, etc. Your friends and family might notice your lack of posts but that depends on how out of the introvert closet you are. I definitely fall into a category called “lurker” which is people who only read and almost never post. It’s hard to explain to extroverts how long it takes me to decide on a topic, compose a post, find a corresponding photo (preferably one I’m not in) then remember to actually create a post. I cannot fathom the idea of randomly throwing up a bunch of pics of me and my friends at the beach (but I enjoy everyone else’s).

Then there’s Twitter. I feel like an elderly Luddite on Twitter. It’s fast paced communication of small bits of highly encrypted information. And it’s a game of volume–the number of followers you have. I’m constantly encouraged to follow my friends and have them follow me. OK, that’s ten or twenty people, who I already communicate with in other ways… It took me a while to catch on, but I have found one benefit to using Twitter. Writers love it (many of whom are introverts). They post links to their writing. I post links to mine and voila–I’m being social from the relative calm and safety of my office. 

So, question number two; why would you want to find introverts on social media? The best answer is because you are one and you would like to find like minded individuals but they are, like you, prone to not go out and be found. It’s a misconception that introverts don’t like people or are shy. Most of us are actually dying to meet others, especially others like ourselves. We would just like to do it in our own way–no pressure, indirectly, at our own pace. 

I hope you found my guide helpful and if you did I’d love to hear from you in a comment…only you probably won’t, because that’s another thing introverts are not likely to do, comment. But we are big on sharing so if you think this article would be helpful to your introvert friends then please pin, post, share and tweet. Thanks.

Pinning Your Character Down

Part of creating a new character is getting a clear image of him or her and the world they will inhabit. This is the first time I’ve used Pintrest for this task and I have to say I am really happy with the results. 

A few months ago, when the new series I’m writing was just a spark of an idea I found an article about creating secret boards on Pintrest and using them to park images and quotes that relate to a project, then reveal the board after you’ve had a chance to build it up. (If you don’t know about secret boards its cause they’re a secret. No, just kidding, here is a link.)

Since Pintrest has almost become my new Google, I started by searching for specific images, pinned those, then followed the links to similar boards and pins to find more inspiration. The result is a tab that I can keep open and review while I’m writing to keep me from getting off track and remind me of the essence of my character. 

The other bonus to pinning characters and novels is being able to un-secret the board and share your vision with potential readers. Which brings us to today, my big reveal… Vivienne. OK, that didn’t seem like much of a reveal, let me try that again. 

Today I present the star of my eight-book series coming in late 2015:

Click  HERE  to meet Vivienne.

Do You Feel Pushed Into Social Media?

I’m not sure if it’s a generational thing or an introvert thing, but I have to admit, I’m just not that into social media. There, I said it. I feel a little better already for confessing that I’m an introverted, 50-year-old library geek who loves to write and read books, but struggles to come up with one thing to say about them (even my own) when I’m on social media.

Even before I self-published I wasn’t exactly drawn to Facebook or Twitter. It wasn’t that I didn’t see the appeal for others or understand the potential reach of these sites. It was more a case of feeling like the fish out of water or the round peg in a world of square holes that kept me from joining in. For me, and other introverts, there is no notion of wanting to share the minutia of my day or invite people I’ve never met into my world. As an author this is doubly true because quite often my world is completely imaginary, all in my head, and subject to constant rearranging until I get a feel for a strong character or story that is ready to be typed into existence. I think all authors wonder if they would be committed if we were required to share what’s really going on in their heads.

Which brings me to my hairdresser (big leap, I know, but stay with me). Mid coloring she shared that everyone in the shop was highly encouraged to use Instagram to build their clientele. We empathized about feeling awkward posting pictures of our pets and food or sharing details about our family life worldwide, but that’s the way it’s done now. Even employees who aren’t self-employed are being asked to open up and share with potential clients. 


I want to tell the world about my books. I’m proud of my work. I’m just struggling with a way to do this that feel genuine and comfortable for me (and fits in my almost-nonexistent budget). I’m already starting to gravitate toward Pintrest and my natural love for it makes using it for my business so much easier. When I connect with someone on there it’s usually due to a genuine shared interest. Maybe this is due to the fact that I’m a pretty typical Pintrest user. According to both Ignite Social Media and Digital Marketing Ramblings the average pinner is a middle-income, very active mom (nailed me). It’s not as easy, but I’m finding my way on Twitter and Goodreads too.  Both feel like a version of LinkedIn for self-published authors, a place to go for tips and support, a hang-out for the less-corporate types. 

The other ironic benefit of social media has been not feeling as alone in my alone-ness. Introverts find each other on social media by opening up and talking (and laughing) about how difficult and strange it feels to open up on social media. I would love to hear from more introvert entrepreneurs. I know it’s against your nature, but take a minute to comment and let me know you are out there and the social media that is working for you.

Links I Love

I’ve been spending more and more time online researching.  As I prepare to market my book I’ve been trying to come up to speed on all the different types of social media and their uses.  In the process, I have found some great posts and links that I want to shout out about.

The posts I have had on this blog about body image led me to a Pintrest board.  The creator is a woman who makes some really cute jewelry which she sells on Etsy, but she is also passionate about body image and the portrayal of women in the media.  Her name is Vanessa Tilberg-Smith and her inspiring and insightful board is called It’s All An Illusion.  Here are a few recent examples of her pins:

Here is a link to her board:  http://www.pinterest.com/vtilberg/its-all-an-illusion/

It is pro loving your body, pro women, funny, insightful and buried away on Pintrest.  It is one to follow and check out any day you are feeling less than fantastic.


The other link I have to recommend is the blog “That Normal.”  It is a group of women who are just as silly as I am and their writing is ‘make me laugh till I cry’ hysterical.  I have been sharing links on Facebook for the past few weeks on their series “The Road to Sochi is Paved in Abs.” (which is the kind of Olympic reporting I am interested in.)  They are also obsessed with Dowton Abby, Twilight, upcoming Outlander Series, and romance novels.  I am a proud member of their boozy book club, where they combine drinking, reading, and commenting on reading.  I’m sharing them with you because they are a guaranteed pick me up and laugh.

Here’s a link:  http://thats-normal.com/