Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Will Pinterest Make or Break Us?

There is a lot of hullabaloo over Pinterest these days. If you haven’t gotten your invite yet, let me just tell ya, its the greatest thing since sliced bread. Here is how most of us use it:

We jump right in with both feet when we get our invite, making boards, and repinning like crazy. Anything and everything gets repinned if it looks halfway decent (and even if it doesn’t). We don’t really think about the pins...we just repin. And usually we leave the description of the pin exactly as the last person had it...so our pin says “This is the easiest way to clean toilets!!” even though we’ve never actually tried it. Raise your hand if you’ve done that. Yeah, mine goes up. One day I pin a zillion recipes (because thats what my followers were pinning) and the next day I’m pinning wardrobe styles and the next day its DIY projects flooding the page. And I’ll probably never even look at those pins again. But its Pinterest...its eye-catching, inspiring goodness.

I was the above pinner, until I started reading some articles on the www that voiced some concerns. You’ve probably read them. And while it can be a big headache, trying to figure out if what you are doing is legal or not, being fair to other bloggers, giving credit where credit is due, etc, etc, etc….I don’t think it has to be. I think that each person just has to decide a method that works for them. So today, I’d like to briefly share my thoughts and what I’ve decided to do. If it helps you, I’m glad. If you skip this post, thats fine too.

Here are a couple of the biggest concerns out there:

1. People are going to pin images that are copyrighted, thus making them available to the public. So far, the word on the street is that this hasn’t started happening, but I guess it is a viable concern. Are we all going to get thrown into jail for copyright infringement?

While this may happen in some cases, I think people have to realize that we live in the internet age. You put something out there on the internet, and its out there forever. The internet doesn’t forget. I am sure the same concerns arose when YouTube came out. There are always going to be people out there that abuse the system. It’s up to me to make sure that I remain truthful and obey the “rules” of anything I do.

2. The wrong people are taking credit. With the liberty of putting inspirational pins on our personal blogs, those inspirational pins may get pinned off our site instead of the original blogger’s site. Make it personal - would I want someone else getting the credit for something I did? Nope, I sure wouldn’t. But it happens. (Again, we live in the internet age.) In my use of pins, however, I try my hardest to NOT let that happen because of my misuse. That is why I am especially careful if I use the embed feature of Pinterest. I check the link to make sure that it is leading back to the original blog/website, and then try to not only link back through the pin, but also link directly from my blog. If possible, I mention that blog/website/person by name to give them the full credit.

3. My pins don’t lead anywhere...there is no blog/website linked to a particular pin, and therefore no instructions to go with it. That is a huge pet peeve of mine, finding that the link is bad. What good is that? So I have made it a point to check links of every pin to make sure I’m really pinning good info. Normally, since I end up on the original website anyway, I just pin directly from the site, using the pinmarklet. This is another way to ensure that the original blogger is getting credit! I have also found that my pins get WAY more repins that way...maybe it makes the pin look more valid? I am not sure why, but one particular pin got nearly 100 repins and likes in the first few minutes. Wow!

Here are a couple other helpful hints: (mostly fueled by my Pinterest pet peeves. :)

Space out your pins. It is great to use Pinterest as a search engine and find, say, recipes for fried chicken. But I don’t necessarily want 40 recipes for fried chicken...when I get on pinterest, I don't want to see all pins on fried chicken. I’m looking for my own inspiration! So when you search, pick out a few pins on the subject to pin, and if you try all those and they are no good, go search again. This will help the rest of us to continue to get good inspiration in many different areas! Also, breaking your Pinterest time up into small chunks, instead of spending 3 hours straight pinning, is a help in this area.

In the text description, leave a concise description of the pin. “Oh, super cute!” doesn’t really tell me much about the pin. (And I know, a bunch of my pins say stuff like that, but that was before I was a reformed pinner) If the pin is just a fun picture or statement, a description may not be necessary, but if it is a recipe for country fried chicken, the description shouldn’t just say, “I need to try this!” It is also a good idea to give a call to action in the description...thus helping out the original blogger. “Recipe for country fried chicken...go see the special ingredient that sets this recipe apart from the rest!” or something else tacky similar to that.

Use the “like” feature and comment option. You don’t always need to repin...you can go back and see your “likes” too! If you have no intention of trying whatever the pin is, but you think it is a nice pin/good idea/cute picture, you can “like” it and always refer back to it if you want. Commenting on a pin is a great way to interact with the people you follow...or get their opinion on something you see. It is not all about repinning!

You might think that all of these conditions make my pinning harder. It really doesn't, but it does take a little more time, so I end up pinning less. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so! If I really see something that will be a help, I am willing to put the time into it. That way I am not just mindlessly pinning things that I will never use! I'd rather have a few good pins that I will utilize than thousands of pins I'll never look through again. I don't have that kind of time, anyway!

Those are my thoughts on using and utilizing Pinterest. What do you think? If you have any other questions that I didn't cover, just leave them in the comments section, I'd love to answer them! I'd also love to hear how you use Pinterest and how you treat these "obstacles" that arise.

You can follow me on Pinterest here, and if you want to learn more about the questions Pinterest evokes, there are two great posts here and here.


  1. I'm not worried about it as long as there's a link back to the original author.
    Most times, if the pin is worth anything at all, you'll have to go back to the original website anyway to get more information. In that way, it is really helping to generate interest in a lot of people who would otherwise never get much exposure.

    By the way, you can also check how many people have things from your own website by using the following url (substituting the last part for any other website.)

    Thanks for the reminders and excellent tips!

    1. "If the pin is worth anything at all" - I totally agree and like how you said that! I often search for my "own" pins, that is a very helpful tool! Thanks for your comment! =)

  2. Love this Nicole, I've been doing much the same as you lately...I like your "reformed pinner" label. =)

  3. I just started Pinterest, so I appreciate your thoughts on it! I'll be keeping these things in mind:)
    Amanda Hitz

    1. Pinterest is fantastic, and I have gotten such great ideas from it. You'll be glad you joined! =)


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