Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Visual Language of Pinterest and the Three Things Game

I don't know about any of you, but since I was “invited” to join Pinterest, I have become obsessed with it. And it seems I am not alone.  Not only are most of my friends “pinning”, but according to the experts, so are more than 2 million people a day! So then we come to the question: “How can Pinterest  be used to anyone's advantage?”

When I was in college, my friends and I invented many games to keep us awake and distracted from our crazy art student hours.  But our favorite was Three Things.  It is a simple game that you can try yourself: all you do is next time you are at a grocery store, try to purchase the 3 most disparate items you can. For us, the winner was 2 knishes and a winter hat! Which still makes me laugh – and that was the point, to make each other laugh as hard as possible, extra points for liquids coming out of anyone's nose! So, you might ask, what does Three Things and nasal expulsions have to do with Pinterest? I will tell you – both are about creating a story by association. And that is why Pinterest can be any person or organizations best tool for anything from Marketing to talking to the dude across the hall.

The basic point here is visual literacy, meaning that, in general, people understand each other better when they see what the other person sees. And what better way to see what another person sees than pictures, literal, actual pictures. So whether you are trying to communicate with your Video Production Company, your Communications Director, or the guy in the next cubicle, if you compile a Pinterest Board of your creative influences, visual “thoughts”, or just stuff you like, you can be on the same page as another person/people. Then from those pictures, you can evolve a story – be it the story of your message, or the story of a particular idea you are trying to propagate.  And the culture of storytelling is a powerful tool for all of us to harness.

Three Things was funny and a shared experience not because of the three selected items, but because of the story they conveyed in relation to one another. The ideas communicated by the juxtaposition of three seemingly unrelated objects, the fact that all three had to be available at our local grocery store, and the absurdity of what each of us chose  for our three each time we played, was the story. And the story was unrelentingly comical no matter who or how often we played. So harness that idea of story, combine it with pictures, and let the creativity flow! I'll leave you with this story: a garden hose, a number 2 pencil, and a box of Ring Dings.