It comes probably as no surprise, but the organizing and engagement potential of social media has not been lost on the labor movement. Just look at Pinterest: in a quick scan this afternoon, I was able to find more than dozens of different labor organizations with active accounts. Content prevalent on these pinboards is political posters and graphics, photos of protests, and infographics on issues affecting workers around the world.
As common as labor organizations’ presence is on Pinterest, degree of engagement varies considerably. The AFL-CIO, an enormous national confederation of labor unions, for example is very active on Pinterest. With more than thirty boards and 389 pins, ranging topically from “good reads” to job safety, plus several hundred followers, the AFL-CIO exhibits a relatively high level of engagement.
The AFL-CIO’s Pinterest page, with more than 30 boards and 400+ followers.
The Teamsters, one of the United States biggest and best-known unions, on the other hand, has an astonishingly limited presence on Pinterest. Two pinboards, 40 pins, and19 followers are the current extent of its activity.
The Teamsters modest Pinterest activity: only two boards!
Less surprising is the small presence of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights—a far smaller and lesser-known organization than either the AFL-CIO or the Teamsters. Its engagement on Pinterest is limited to only three boards with 37 pins of images on labor rights, infographics, and photos of union-made goods; it has 26 followers.
IGLHR’s Pinterest page, with pins for union-made goods, infographics, and iconic images in support of labor.
All in all, my anecdotal observations of the activities of unions and other labor organizations on Pinterest suggest that they are still building momentum; most had less than 100 followers and none had reached the degree of activity and participation that we see in some other social and political causes. For a good general overview of union use of social media, see this blog post by Jessica Miller-Merrell.