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10 Awesome Pinterest Boards The Government Should Start

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This post has been edited to reflect that "Interesting Things for Sale" is a personal pinboard, not an official GSA Pinboard.  Here are the Official GSA Pinboards.

In January, the General Services Administration approved the terms of service for Pinterest—meaning that federal agencies could start to use the site to engage with citizens.  Since then, a board has been created that lsits “Interesting Items for Sale,” and has pins including lighthouses, LearJets and helicopters, and a phoropter.

spoke with FCW about some other boards that I think should be created by various agencies.  After a little reflection, I was able to think of 10 Pinboards that I think would be useful both for agencies and for Pinterest users.  Agencies should create boards only if doing so helps achieve the goals as stated in their mission, a part of which may be to show people what falls under their purview.  For Pinterest users, the boards must help them explore, deepen, and share their interests with friends.

With these criteria in mind, here are 10 Pinterest Boards I think would be useful for agencies and engaging for the Pinterest community that could go up today and expand for years to come:

  1. NASA: Space-faring Equipment.  Pictures of all the rockets from Loki to the Saturn, and beyond, all of the rovers, all of the shuttles, every machine that we've sent into space.
  2. National Park Service: Flora and fauna for each park.  For each park, there would be a single Pinboard with images of all the trees, bushes, and flowers as well as the birds, lizards, and mammals that visitors are likely to find.
  3. EPA: Historical comparisons of superfund sites.  What did hazardous sites look like before the EPA cleaned them up?  This Pinboard would have side-by-side images of superfund sites from before and after EPA's intervention.
  4. FBI: Most Wanted.  
  5. DARPA: Grand Challenge vehicles. What do all those driverless vehicles look like?  This Pinboard would collect them all for easy viewing and sharing.
  6. Treasury Department (US Mint): All collectors' coins ever minted.  The US Mint produces collectors' coins with great regularity.  This Pinboard would display each coin (and of course have links for people to buy them).
  7. NOAA: Fisheries. Like the National Park Service Pinboards, the NOAA Fisheries Pinboards would display images of each of the species of fish in certain locations.  This board could also show information about the health of the fish population and other facts about the species.
  8. USDA: Healthy Meals.  Supertracker is already a very popular tool, and having a Pinboard showing a complete healthy meal would give poeople another way to find nutritious recipies and share them with friends.
  9. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency Products. Have you seen some of the new programmable thermostats? LED Lights? Even tankless water heaters have managed to start looking cool.
  10. Department of Transportation: Vintage & Experimental Aircraft. There are actually quite a few interesting Pinboards the DoT could produce including railcars, bridges (yes, even of Madison County), and even air control towers.

These are my ideas - what are yours?

Gadi Ben-Yehuda is the Director of Innovation and Social Media for the IBM Center for The Business of Government. Previously, he was a Web Strategist for the District of Columbia's Office of the Chief Technology Officer. He has taught creative, expository, and Web writing for more than 10 years to university students, private-sector professionals, and soldiers. He has an MFA in poetry from American University, has taught writing at Howard University, and has worked in Washington, DC, for nonprofits, lobbying organizations, Fleishman-Hillard Global Communications, and Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign.

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