Why I’m Using Pinterest As An Online Portfolio


Pinterest doesn’t have to be just photos of cupcakes and wedding dresses. This week I’ve been collecting my best work from the past few years onto a Pinterest board to use as an extended online portfolio. I’ve found it that it’s a great way to showcase my work in a way that’s easily consumable. Other users can quickly get a feel for work by scanning the range of subjects featured in the pinned photos.

Look a little closer at the “Pinned from” field, and you can see that I’ve contributed content to a variety of organizations - from NPR and Marketplace to The Record local newspaper in Stockton, Calif.

Read the headlines and text and you’ll find I’ve covered everything from crime and politics to music and pop culture. The 500-character text limit on Pinterest forced me to try and write a concise elevator pitch for each content item, which is another good practice for online portfolios.

And if there is a project or post that seems particularly interesting, you can always click through from a pin to find that content where it lives.

I also created a board with links to my writing for trade blogs and photos from some of my presentations at conferences. The process of collecting my work on Pinterest required one relatively easy workaround that revealed an annoying but noncritical bug. Since some of my work does not include a Pinterest-friendly photo to pin, I had to occasionally pin a photo independently, then link the pin back to the content. This was the workflow: find a .jpg related to the content; pin the .jpg with the elevator pitch text; re-load the board; click edit on the pin; add the URL for the content in the Source box; click Save Changes.

I found that when I followed this process in Chrome, the photo that I pinned did not always display on my board when I was logged into Pinterest.


However, the photo does appear when I’m logged out, which means the UX isn’t effected. So I’m not too concerned.


The process of creating my Pinterest portfolio is part of my larger effort to redesign ianhillmedia.com. I tend to try and rebuild the site whenever I have extended free time. The site launched in 2008 or 2009 as a blog on WordPress that allowed me to showcase my work and share my thoughts on the journalism industry. WordPress is a great, easy-to-use tool that also allowed me to learn more about PHP, HTML and CSS.

In 2010 or 2011, I decided to make my online presence more social by moving ianhillmedia.com to Tumblr. At first I used Tumblr to share my photographs and other work as well as my thoughts on the news. For about a year I also curated a list of daily links to other posts about digital and social media. It was the same list I was sharing with my colleagues at KQED in San Francisco as part of my efforts to improve digital literacy at the organization. As I took on more projects at KQED, however, I found I had less time to blog on ianhillmedia.com.

Recently, I left KQED to take my first management position. I’m now the executive producer for digital and social media at News10 in Sacramento. I fully expect the job will leave me with very little time for personal writing, and I decided it was time to redesign ianhillmedia.com into a more traditional vanity site. I want the site to be mobile- and tablet-friendly, so I’ve picked a responsive template that I’ve been playing with this week during my free time between jobs.

I plan on selecting the best content from my Pinterest portfolio and posting it in embeddable RebelMouse dashboards, which are embeddable and (I believe) responsive. I’ll then embed those dashboards in the new ianhillmedia.com.

I’ll keep you updated on the process.

UPDATE: I just realized RebelMouse is now charging $9.99 per month for access to all its embed features, so I’m rethinking using it. I don’t fault any startup for charging, but I’m not sure if the RebelMouse rate is worth it for this project.