ANALYSIS

Army, Navy and National Guard first to venture onto Pinterest

Several U.S. military agencies have taken the first leaps to establish a presence on the rapidly-growing Pinterest social media website—but it can be difficult to tell apart the agencies’ official “pinboards” and “pins” on the site from those created by fans.

Pinterest.com is a social media network where users create virtual bulletin boards and “pin” the boards with interesting graphics and images, which generally contain Web links to other websites. Users can "like" and follow each other, similar to Facebook, and can link to each other’s pinboards.

The U.S. Army, Navy and National Guard, along with several private military organizations, all have created accounts on Pinterest, according to an Army introduction to Pinterest published on SlideShare on Feb. 8.


Related article:
Pinterest of interest, but feds not yet sold on it


“Currently, only a handful of military organizations are using Pinterest,” the U.S. Army and Social Media Division said in the SlideShare presentation. “Like many other platforms, as Pinterest grows in popularity, Army organizations will likely experiment with the platform to determine how they can use it as part of a unique social media program.”

The Army's presentation also noted that Pinterest is used primarily by women, ages 25 to 34.

The Pinterest social media service has gained popularity on the Web, tripling in size from September to December, to about 7 million users. Its expansion occurred even though it currently is available to users by invitation only.

The Pinterest website presents a few difficulties in navigation, however. Although a reporter was able to locate the official Pinterest board for the National Guard, the official pinboards for the Army and Navy proved elusive.

A reporter searching on the Pinterest website for “US Army” was directed to two pinboards; a search for “United States Army” revealed two additional pinboards, and so did a search for “Army.” None appeared to be the official pinboards.

A search of Google.com for “Army” and “Pinterest” linked to dozens of “pins” referencing the military agency, but apparently not to the official pinboard. Similar problems occurred in searching for the Navy. Executives at Pinterest were not immediately available to explain how to locate the official websites.

Luke Fretwell, a reporter at FedScoop, included links to the official Pinterest websites for the Army, Navy and National Guard in an article on Feb. 9.

Meanwhile, civilian agencies have been slower to move onto Pinterest. The General Services Administration recently said it would not negotiate terms of service with the social network until there was a greater “groundswell” of interest from the civilian agencies.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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