Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Information Bonanza or Information Overload?

Photo credit: English harmony

I love, love, love all the info available on the internet, blogs, Pinterest.... When I created my Facebook page about 2 years ago I was being innovative (I thought).  On my business page I did not want to get into the ethical quandry created by posting pics of clients on the web... not a safe place for that kind of thing.  Since I have for years been building my favorites pages with files (Literature, Autism, Apraxia, Articulation), I had bookmarked oodles and oodles of reference materials.  I lost lots of it over the years when my computers would melt down.  As I tried to figure out what in the world Facebook was good for, I noticed the photos files.  Being a highly visual person and loving to use books in therapy, I decided to use the photos sections to build up a visual reference file of favorite resources.  So I began googling book images, saving them to my computer pic files, uploading them to Facebook albums, and attaching links to online resources in the "comments" boxes below the pics.  Hence my own early version of "Pinterest".  (Unfortunately Pinterest does not allow link backs to Facebook so I cannot share these resources.  But, I think I will start blogging on each book or group of books so that my links and mined resources can be shared on Pinterest.  I want to be a contributor not just a taker.) Now I did this solely for my own personal use.  The benefits of this were multi-fold: I could work on this in the evenings as sort of a relaxation activity and I could go into the office and pull up my Facebook page from any computer in the building and instantly see and access my resources.  Those of you my age, or close to it, have (and probably still have) file cabinets full of old files and copies of resources, not to mention notebooks stuffed to the gills with worksheets and info.  How much nicer is this to click a button, find a link, and print the activity.  The only caveat seems to be the death of links; so maybe I still make hard copies and file away things I truly love, but I am also learning to save them on my hard drive and to back up my computer regularly. 

Unlike Al Gore and the internet, I do not claim to have invented Pinterest.  I was tentative about Pinterest at first glance and played around with it.  But as the popularity of Pinterest has exploded so have the beneficial resources.  It is like having an entire therapy supply store at your fingertips.  Tons of activities, ideas, information.  But to one as myself it is also a littly dizzying.  I am finding myself reeling at "too much" info.  I am repinning so many items that I am constantly having to subcategorize my boards to keep them manageable.  So how to keep sane  and from drowning in this wealth of info?  Here are a few of the things I am doing. (Realize that I am 50 years old, running a business, keeping a busy caseload of clients, raising young adults, dealing with aged parents... my brain cells are already overtaxed and not as flexible as they once were.  So, many of you reading this may be thinking, "What is she talking about, overload?" If so, you can skip this blog post.)

1.  I peruse Pinterest at least once a day, for a few minutes, to see what is new (there is always something great).   I "follow" people's pages that I find interesting, not their entire site. PediaStaff (I always want to call them Pedialyte) is a must as those dear people are tireless and do most of the work of finding great resources for the rest of us. "Thank you!"

2. PediaStaff has some amazing resources boards.  Instead of pinning each item I like (which would be overwhelming and make it impossible to quickly find specific things). I pin entire boards to my appropriate board.  They will often do this for you and you simply have to repin the link.  If you find an entire board of theirs or someone else's, here is how to do it:  Click repin on one of the pics. Save your pin.  Open the link to their entire board and highlight & copy the url.  Open your saved pin, hit edit pin, paste the url into the link window.  Save. Voila! You now have pinned the whole board.  The beauty of it is that as new items are added to their board, your link back always includes all of the great new info.  I especially like doing this with PediaStaff's boards that have picture prompts for problem solving, verbs, etc.

3. For those of you who have your own websites or blogs, do not forget to occassionally pin some of your own materials to Pinterest.  This creates more traffic to your sites.  It also opens up new resources to peruse.  If I click to see who repinned my pin and see their board has an interesting title, I will check out their board too and usually find new pins that I love.

4.  A no brainer tip is to pin the most interesting picture you can find and to rewrite the pin description to make it relevant to your needs.  I often leave what the pinner wrote and add my own words at the top.  This way when I go to find a pin to meet a therapy need (or personal interest), my description is relevant to the reason I pinned it.

Happy pinning and Pinterest management to you all.


Heidi Kay said...

Thanks for the shout out Suzanne! Another way you can pin a whole board is with "url2pin.it" Its a new pinterest tool that takes a screen shot of any page that you then can pin. I like it better than what we were doing before of editing the hyperlink.

Make it a great one!

Chad B. said...

Oh I totally dig the picture, who did it?

I found so much information in it ... I was looking for actual 'information overload', everything seems to give it out 'bit by bit', even google prepares it for you in little snippets ..

Keep up the good work!

Suzanne Herman, M.Ed., CCC-SLP said...

Hey Chad. I confess I "borrowed" it off of Google Images. I did go back and locate it and have added a link back to the place where I found it. It links to an article.