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As the fastest growing social network ever, Pinterest has positioned itself nicely to become the next “big thing” in political campaigning, with candidates finally recognizing the easy-to-use nature of the platform and the number of politicians on Pinterest on the rise. While the platform is stereotypically known for it’s abundance of wedding themed boards, it is evolving into a platform ample for sharing personal and political images.
Paul Booth, assistant professor of new media and technology at DePaul University in Chicago, would argue that Pinterest is unique in its ability to humanize politicians, especially in the presidential race:
“The more tech savvy campaigns are very good at finding people online,” said Booth. “A lot of people want to humanize their president. Pinterest can do that in a way that a blog can’t because it’s too professional, and Facebook can’t because it seems so corporate now.”
And while it’s true that the majority of Pinterest users are women, this provides all the more reason for candidates struggling to gain traction within the female demographic to jump on the trend and start pinning to their desired audience.
“Some are saying that women’s votes are up for grabs in the presidential campaign, so this makes sense to reach that population,” Booth said. “Pinterest is very heavily skewed female.”
Just as politicians target potential voters based on location, political preference, and interests, candidates can use Pinterest to appeal to their desired voter base: women.
Let’s take a look at some politicians on Pinterest and what they’re doing that works:
1. Barack Obama
His campaign not only populates a general “Barack Obama” page, but his re-election team has created regional Pinterest pages, including pages for New Hampshire, Wisconcin, Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Kansas, and North Carolina.
Some features that stand out on his page are his use of Pinterest to promote his store, his board titled “Just the facts” with infographics galore, and his focus on his family (with his “The First Family” board home to the second largest number of pins on his account).
2. Ann Romney
While her husband hasn’t quite caught on, Ann Romney blazes a trail for politicians on Pinterest, showcasing her pinning skills on her own Pinterest account, with 151 pins. She follows the trends by featuring a “DIY” (Do It Yourself) board and a “Recipes” board, sharing ideas for crafts and cooking. Her Pinterest board isn’t flooded with campaign pictures, and she only dedicates one of her nine boards to the campaign. This humanizes her as a mother, as a cook, as an American – not just as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife. Her “Patriotic” board is covered with stars and stripes, giving her 10,076 followers a glimpse into her role as an American.
A less known politician on Pinterest, Tammy Duckworth is an Iraqi war veteran running for Congress in Illinois’ 8th District. Facing Republican incumbent Joe Walsh, she has taken to Pinterest to share photos of her family, endorsements, her involvement in the community, and her life as a veteran. Favorite board? Without a doubt, it’s her 4th of July board, in which she includes pictures taken with the photo-sharing app Instagram. Double points for using both Pinterest and Instagram.
4. Gary Johnson
The Libertarian presidential candidate uses the image-based site to share his athletic side, dedicating boards to Fitness, Travel, and Sporting. He invites us to see his more adventurous side, with images of him running, hiking, and camping. Also showcasing his sense of humor, he’s added a board devoted entirely to memes.
While his activity has decreased since dropping out of the Republican presidential race, Newt Gingrich created an account on Pinterest earlier this year, and used the visual presentation of the platform to post images from the campaign trail. He dedicates a whole board to Instagram, which with the help of his wife, Callista, he populates with behind-the-scenes images. Callista is still active on Instagram, posting pictures of her trip to Florence, her and her mother, her own political endeavors, and just three days ago, her round of golf. Together, the Gingrich’s provide an intimate lens into their life, both political and personal.
Are you on Pinterest? Do you see a place for politics on the the social platform? How well are politicians on Pinterest using the social network?