Photo Credit: Pinterest
For candidates who want to win in 2012, Pinterest is THE place to be.
Don't know Pinterest yet? For the most part, Pinterest is an online dream for crafters, designers and do-it-yourselfers where members create "pin boards" of dreamy images and links that would make Martha Stewart swoon. We're out there sharing our thoughts with Twitter and Facebook, so why not images that resonate and inspire us?
One writer recently called Pinterest "digital crack for women" online, and some critics are giving it short shrift because its users are primarily women. But the funny thing is this -- women are already the majority of users "hanging out" online. You name it, women are there. So it's not rocket science to realize that if someone wants to reach women, popular online spaces are the place to be.
So if women also are the majority of voters in America, can Pinterest be a useful political engagement tool? It took the old-school politicos a while to warm up to the idea that they needed a presence on Twitter and Facebook to engage with voters, so it ought to be a natural next step to head over to Pinterest. I'm giving it a shot at my Election 2012 Pinterest page, and it turns out I'm not the only one. Here are a few you might want to check out:
1. Santorum's sweater vests
Newsweek magazine created this Pinterest site to highlight what has become the must-have fashion item for the 2012 presidential campaign -- the sweater vest. With the tag-line "Sleeves slow him down," this board features the many vests of GOP contender Rick Santorum. If Mr. Rogers were alive today, would he forsake his beloved cardigan for the vest?
2. Mitt Romney's luxury
One of the political organizations at the forefront of using Pinterest this campaign season is Think Progress. This arm of the progressive think-tank Center for American Progress has been using the image boards to highlight the luxury hotels Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been staying in on the campaign trail, as well as his not-so-commercial way of getting around. Can you say an image is worth a thousand words?
3. Ann Romney
To counter the efforts of Think Progress, as well as a faux Romney Pinterest board that has been taken down, the Romney campaign asked Mitt's wife Ann to take a stab at engaging with women in that space. Her pin board topics include, "Things I Love," "Patriotic," "Family," "Recipes," and "Campaign." So far, in her "Books Worth Reading" category she includes Anna Karenina and The Forgotten Garden. Calling Karen Santorum and Michelle Obama! It might be time for both of you to get in on the pinning action!
4. Conservatives love Pinterest!
Progressive think-tanks aren't the only ones getting in on Pinterest madness. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, is a real Pinterest addict. Their boards feature conservative men and women they like, as well as spacwa highlighting their stands on political issues like the environment, education and, taking advantage of the current hot topic, family and religion.
5. Where is the President?
The Obama campaign is still famous for successfully using online tools to win the 2008 election. But things have changed exponentially since then, and if the President wants to woo the all-important women's vote, he needs to be where they are and engage. Yes, he has a presence on Twitter and Facebook, but Pinterest is the new bright, shiny object in the blogosphere. I know his campaign has plenty of tech-savvy volunteers. Surely one of them has five minutes to get a Pinterest board up! The re-election effort has already embraced the idea of using Instagram, so it's not a leap to see the impact they could have with a few strategically placed pin boards. President Obama already has a rockin' campaign playlist -- they could start with that!
You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of the Amazon bestsellerMothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America.