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UTA uses Pinterest to connect with students

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Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 9:30 pm

Pinterest collects more referral traffic percentages than YouTube, Linkedin and Google Plus combined. 

The social media craze Pinterest shares “pins” of things users find interesting. Users can repost an item by “repinning” it to their page to create a “board.” The site’s layout is similar to a bulletin board for everyone to see.

Average users spend about 16 minutes on Pinterest during each browsing session, according to Pinterest facts, a board dedicated to information about the social media outlet. In 2012, users browsed Pinterest for more than 1.2 billion minutes from a computer, more than seven hundred million minutes browsing from mobile apps and more than one hundred million minutes browsing from the mobile web, according to Pinterest facts.

UTA created a Pinterest account about two months ago to connect with distant online students. UTA students also use Pinterest to search for information.

Pinterest acts as an archive of information instead of a news-feed-based social media site such as Facebook or Twitter, said Micaela L. Seals, instructional programmer for the Center for Distance Education and adviser for Maverick Global Network. 

Simplicity makes Pinterest easy to use, Seals said.

Seals uses Pinterest to connect with online UTA students through the Maverick Global Network, a UTA networking group for distance learning students. The Maverick Global Network’s boards include “Welcome to UT Arlington,” “History and Traditions,”  “Maverick Athletics,” “Student/Alumni Spotlights,” “Maverick Pride,” “You’ve Graduated...Now What?” “Famous Mavericks” and “Money Management.” 

“I just love that Pinterest is an unconventional way to connect with students beyond the academic classroom,” Seals said. “‘Welcome to UT Arlington’ shares information about the institution and some lovely pictures of the campus since our online students don’t have an opportunity to take those things in firsthand.”

Users can also search Pinterest by specific topics or by categories such as animals, art,  do-it-yourself crafts, education, entertainment, food and drink, beauty, health and fitness, weddings and photography.

Biology senior Mallory Minix’s favorite pins are recipes and home decor. Minix uses Pinterest for finding recipes, do-it-yourself projects, furniture ideas, organizing tips and workout suggestions.

“If I needed ideas for something, I usually Googled it,” Minix said. “Yes, I could find those ideas on the Internet before I had a Pinterest, but it’s easier to find things and sort through my ideas with Pinterest. I feel like I can find what I want a little faster.”

Journalism sophomore Jessica Diaz uses Pinterest to find fashion trends and clothes.

“I find outfit inspirations for parties,” Diaz said. “I don’t repin, I just look.” 

However, some students, such as  broadcast junior Candice Stinnett, fear that if he or she creates a Pinterest account, he or she will become addicted to the site. 

“I haven’t made an account because I’d become addicted and I would have to give my son up for adoption for not paying attention to him,” Stinnett said jokingly. 

Whether it’s connecting through pins about fashion, food or community, UTA and its students use Pinterest as an outlet to stay connected to the things they are interested in. 

“After all, we don’t want our students only to feel connected to the university when they log on to their classes in Blackboard; we want them to feel Maverick pride all the time, even when cooking dinner using a recipe from our ‘Healthy Mavericks’ board,” Seals said.


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