Have you heard?
Pinterest is rolling out looooong-overdue feature: SECRET BOARDS!
Since my very first day on Pinterest, I’ve bemoaned the lack of non-public boards. I mean, Pinterest is the perfect place to collect gift ideas, party ideas, travel ideas… unless making them public will spoil a surprise!
But they’ve (finally) created private boards (which they’re calling “secret boards”), and I’m ecstatic. In celebration, here’s an idea for using them to coordinate jazz for your next group gathering.
This won’t work so well for the “everyone’s invited!” sort of soiree, but for a Family Dinner or Book Group Cocktail Party it could be perfect. I also think it’d be ideal for co-hosted events. Need to show the other peeps what your cake stand looks like or show your dudes what kind of tent you have for the camping trip? Snap a picture of it and post it to your Secret Board. Ta-da!
Okay, obviously I haven’t used the Secret Boards this way, yet. They just popped up last week. But everything I’ve mentioned below I’ve done myself with Pinterest over the past few days, just to make sure I wasn’t feeding you hogwater. Because that’d be not very nice. And kinda nasty.
Using Pinterest’s New Secret Boards for Group Gatherings and Holiday Parties
Why Use Pinterest?
For one, it’s fun. Seeing what friends are bringing and having a visual of it all makes planning less of a chore. Use it for parties, dinners, roadtrips, showers, whatever!
Also, it’s spur-of-the-moment flexible. At any time, any member of the group can see a current visual of what’s being brought. If anyone needs to make a last-minute adjustment, they can look at the Secret Board and make sure they choose something that fits and isn’t already provided for.
And using it this way alleviates some of the pressure on the point person who is always getting calls about if/what is already accounted for.
Why Use a Secret Board?
So you don’t make the uninvited envious, of course.
But seriously, not everyone in the group will want the world to know what they’re contributing. (Pre-wedding festivities, I’m looking at you.)
Using a private board also alleviates the felt need prettify the photos. You can just use any snapshot without having to gussy it up too much, and can even use pics of written notes or sketches, or capture a screengrab without puzzling the whole Piniverse.
What to Pin
Food, decorations, ideas for gift bags, party favors, invitations… anything and everything that it would benefit the group to have a visual of or know about is fair game.
How To Use It With Your Group
- Let everyone know the plan some way other than Pinterest. That way, when they get the invitation for the board they’ll know what it is. (It could also give you a heads up if several people don’t use Pinterest.)
- Create the Secret Board. Name it something descriptive. To do this, go to your boards (hover on your avatar in the upper right-hand corner and select “boards”), scroll to the bottom of your boards page to the Secret Boards section and click “Create a secret board.”
- Invite the members of your group to add to the board. To do this, click the “edit” button on the board you just created. From the edit page you can add new people by name or by email. And don’t worry, if you forget someone, any other member can invite new members.
- Start pinning what you’ll be contributing to the festivities, adding your own comments/questions/etc. in the description sections (you can always add them in the comments later, too.)
By having a shared Secret Board, you’ll all know at a glance what’s covered, what’s not, and whether or not your jello fruit salad will mix with the other offerings. It won’t, of course. You’ll hate yourself for bringing jello salad. It’s 2012. Time for jello salad to go the way of mail-order fruitcake.
(BTW, did you see the “Vintage Mold Recipes” photos Bon Appetit recently posted from the 1960’s? You need to. It’s like awkward family photos for cooks.)
A Few Other Ideas & Suggestions
- You don’t have to find a photo online of what you’re bringing to pin it. Use the camera from the Pinterest app on your smartphone to take a photo (of the item, a recipe, whatever) and upload it directly, or scribble a note on a sheet of paper, photograph, and upload.
- Updates to your secret board won’t appear in your feed, so you’ll have to check the board manually, or have Pinterest email you updates, an option you can select on the “edit” screen for the board. (As of the publishing of this post, I don’t think these emails are working correctly for everyone. If they aren’t, hopefully Pinterest will have it remedied soon.)
- Use the board to dialogue. If you “signed up” to bring pumpkin cheesecake and someone else says they’ll bring pumpkin cupcakes, use the comments to ask about whether you both want to bring pumpkin or if you should change it up a little.
- As you make spur of the moment decisions when you’re out and about (like when you just found your favorite merlot on sale), snap a pic and update the group.
I think the Pinterest Secret Boards are a game changer for shared planning of all kinds. Of course, it’s all new territory, so please share your successes and setbacks as they come. I’d love to hear from you. Happy Partying!