Explore to your heart’s content…

Picture 9


“Explore to your heart’s content”, is how Jennifer Baker (2013), describes popular social networking site Pinterest. She views the site as a great way to curate and create something that is useful to your school or wider learning community. Based on my first time using it to create a ‘board’, I think she is right. Wilkinson (2013), believes Pinterest can be used by librarians to interact with patrons and a wider community of librarians. Whilst Thornton (2012), asks ” Is your academic library pinning?”.

My intention was to curate images of things that many of today’s youth find to be of interest. To make the ‘board’ look more credible, I asked two sixteen year olds and one twelve year old their tips on ‘what is currently popular’ – to point me in the right direction. I was encouraged to find images of popular gaming consoles and on-line games. New television series from the US, anime characters and popular music artists, were also recommended. This is what I gathered: http://www.pinterest.com/tonykapow/popular-with-young-people-2014/

Being a visual learner, I found the experience stimulating and fulfilling. My only frustration was caused by the decisions involved in on-line digital curation – namely which images to keep, which ones to delete. Regarding the selection of other people’s content to display, I found myself challenged by the sheer volume of choices. On reflection, I see that I was doing more than just ‘re-pinning’ or broadcasting the work of others. I found myself taking in ideas and content from these places.

One idea that strongly stuck, came after pinning Meghan Trainor’s number one song for this week, “All about that Bass”. The lyrics and video clip concern the notion of ‘body image’. It seems like a positive message to young people, though it has been criticised by McKinney (2014), for favouring larger girls at the expense of ridiculing ‘skinny’ girls. She does, however, view the clip as a possible gateway to feminism for Trainor’s fans. I think this song could be used in the curriculum, as a discussion point regarding body image and unrealistic portrayals, in many on-line images.

The discussion regarding healthy/realistic body images may need to take place during the preteen years. Tiggemann and Slater (2014), conducted a study to examine the relationship between media exposure and body image in preteenage girls. Their study concluded that: the Internet represents a potent sociocultural force among girls aged ten to twelve; and time spent on-line significantly relates to the internalisation of the thin ideal (as was time reading magazines and watching television).

Perhaps it is time to create another ‘board’, “positive on-line body images”, this time with students themselves identifying, selecting, and ‘pinning’ the images? This would be one way to further test the pedagogical potential of this site. (http://www.pinterest.com/)




Baker, J. Y. (2013). Beyond death by chocolate: USING PINTEREST PROFESSIONALLY. Knowledge Quest, 42(2), 74-77. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1460536185?accountid=13380


McKinney, K. (2014). “All about the bass” isn’t actually positive. Retrieved from:



Tiggemann, M., & Slater, A. (2014). NetTweens: The internet and body image concerns in preteenage girls. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 34(5), 606-620. doi:10.1177/0272431613501083


Thornton, E. (2012). Is your academic library pinning? academic libraries and pinterest. Journal of Web Librarianship, 6(3), 164


Wilkinson, Z. (2013). Oh, how pinteresting! an introduction to pinterest. Library Hi Tech News, 30(1), 1-4. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/07419051311320904


4 thoughts on “Explore to your heart’s content…

  1. Thanks Tony. I couldn’t agree more with your statement regarding the images found on some of the Pinterest boards – body image is high on the agenda. Looking through your board, the shows that the teens recommended, (even the Top 10 Teen Bloggers) are full of beautiful people wearing gorgeous clothes. I had the same experience when I was looking at pins for my board. And with so many recommendations from hundreds of thousands of Pinterest users, it’s easy to see how one might begin to question their fashion sense, not to mention their choice of living room furnishings. Your idea of creating a ‘positive online body image’ board is a great start to educating people about alternatives to what ‘normal’ might look like.


  2. A disturbing trend on Pinterest is the “thinspo” or “pro-ana” boards that promote unhealthy lifestyles. Like Tumblr, Pinterest has a policy against them http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/10/pinterest-removes-eating-disorder-content_n_1747279.html but it hasn’t changed much. When I searched Google for that article, the first results were several Pinterest boards telling me all about thigh gaps and how to lose 12 pounds in 14 days. Even though I agree that the Trainor song unnecessarily demonises “skinny” girls, it is nice to have an alternative point of view.


  3. Hi Tony. I’m going to attempt my Pinterest later today and I’m not sure how I’m going to eliminate the ‘beautiful people’ from the pins because you and Trish are both so right, it is so prolific. Just looking at sites which address youth and popular culture has brought up so much white North American rubbish, my tolerance levels for it is very much thinning. I too love the idea of a positive online body image board. It’s a funny thing that you mention the song All about the bass. My niece, who is my interview subject has ranked it as one of her favourite songs at the moment and my 12 and 10 year olds also love it. My girls were telling me that their step-sister found it offensive because it is discriminatory to skinny people, which she is one of. So it is interesting to me that you have raised it as a polemic at the moment. I have to mention that this same step-sister developed anorexia at the age of 13….. so this discussion on body image for young people continues to be so very important. Congratulations on your post!


  4. Hi Tony,
    I’m glad that I wasn’t alone in my experience starting on Pinterest! I was also a bit overwhelmed at the number of choices on offer and had difficulty choosing which images I really wanted and what description I would put with them, but I am also in love with it. It’s interesting going back and looking at what you pinned in the past even if only a week or a month ago – maybe this will be a new type of time capsule! Imagine if students created categories in Pinterest now and were able to look back at them in the year 2040! It would be akin to us looking back at our own lives and what we liked in the 70’s or 80’s! An interesting thought for the future.


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