Some Muddled Thoughts on Pinterest

by Ginger on February 27, 2012

in Blogging & Social Media

I keep seeing all this stuff about Pinterest floating around, and I keep having my OWN thoughts about those things, but I’ve yet to be able to form them into one coherent post.

But when has that ever stopped me from spouting off?

So these are my very muddled and confused thoughts on Pinterest. I’d love to hear what the rest of you think (either of my muddled thoughts, or what your own muddled thoughts are), because I find Pinterest fascinating, but even more so, I find other people’s REACTIONS to Pinterest fascinating.

  • I see a lot of people who keep saying they don’t like the direction that Pinterst is taking, or they don’t like what they are seeing other people pin on Pinterest. I have to admit, this confuses me a little, because I just unfollow boards or people when I find that what’s being pinned doesn’t match up with what I want. Pinterest really lets you pick and choose a little more than I think a lot of folks are doing–for example, one person I know ONLY follows food boards. She doesn’t follow people, just boards. I think that’s fabulous, because the original intent of Pinterest seems to be curation/bookmarking, and if you know you only want to see food, why bother following non-food boards? That said, I do agree that the fact that the site has grown so fast means that there’s a LOT going on over there, and if you don’t want to spend the time to filter that way, it’s likely that you’re going to see content/uses you don’t like.
  • Although I would *LOVE* a way to filter out the thinspiration crap.
  • Related: I feel for the people who say that Pinterest makes them feel inadequate/poor/unstylish/etc., but it’s such a useful tool for the things YOU want to see that I hope that people don’t stop using it because of that. True, you can see that a lot of people have started pinning things they think will make them look a certain way to the rest of the world. But come on, that’s the same as blogs right? I mean, you can see the blogs that are putting on a face and if those make you feel crummy, you just find your community that is more in line with the way you view things. SO WHAT if no one repins your stuff, if you’re enjoying what you pin? I would rather see the pins of things you actually do/will make, that you can/do buy, than anything you just pin because you think it will get more repins, or because it paints you in a certain light!
  • The complaint that Pinterest is/was making money off of user’s pins doesn’t really bother me either. Maybe it’s because I know there’s got to be a business plan for actual revenue somewhere in there, and I’d rather it happen with silent/blind affiliate links than with ads. Maybe it’s because I rarely pin items that are going to have an affiliate link. Or maybe it’s because I don’t have a problem with the things I use/enjoy online (be they services or bloggers!) making money. That said, there have been whisperings that they’re replacing OTHER people’s affiliate links and THAT would be something that I find problematic.
  • I *loathe* the fact that every time someone in the tech world discusses Pinterest, they end up dismissing it as a “women’s site” that is popular solely thanks to shopping and pretty things. The disdain and outright misogyny I’ve seen based on the user base and the (IMO mostly false) ideas of why it’s so popular for the user base is frustrating, though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
  • I find the whole conversation about copyright on Pinterest fascinating, irritating, and frustrating. First up, I’ll just say this: at work, we’ve had a few lawyers look over the TOS at Pinterest and they’ve found them to be not terribly different from most other online sharing sites in terms of the copyright terms. But that doesn’t appease people who don’t want Flickr or Facebook or Twitpic to claim any rights any more than they want Pinterest to claim those rights. But beyond that, I think that Pinterest is a good example of how it’s up to the user to be on guard about what they’re agreeing to when they try a new service or site, and up to content creators to be proactive in doing what you can, when you can, to protect your material if you don’t want it to be shared (disabling pinning, watermarking, etc.). Once something is online, it becomes really hard to manage that stuff, and sadly, the world isn’t set up to make it easier.
  • I also think it’s a great example of how copyright and the internet just don’t play together very well when we look at the current terms of copyright with the current trends in internet usage. As someone who deals with copyright in my day job, and is married to an artist, I find this whole internet world more than a little confusing when it comes to copyright violations. The ground seems to move beneath our feet on a daily basis.
  • Related: for the love of god people, PLEASE PIN BACK TO THE ORIGINAL SITE!

I do find Pinterest an interesting and useful tool (seriously, I do a TON of my meal planning via Pinterest now. It’s fabulous.), but there’s so much swirling around it, in large part because of the rapid growth. I clearly don’t have fully formed thoughts on a lot of this stuff, just the beginnings of conversations…so what do YOU think of Pinterest?

*disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever played a lawyer. My company’s lawyer looking at this does not constitute any kind of legal advice FTLOG, don’t look to me as the final word on any of this!

emily @ the happy home February 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm

thanks for mentioning the lawyer/copyright issues. i’ll admit that i was unnerved by the TOS for Pinterest, but honestly– despite the fact that they gave us the legal language, they’d have a hard time really being nefarious with someone else’s image. there’s no way in America they could profit off of someone’s image and win any lawsuit that ensued, even if Pinterest’s rights were secured in the TOS. thanks, Litigious America!

Cheryl February 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I’m with you on a lot of this. I don’t get the inadequacy thing either. I like visual inspiration!
People need to pin responsibly. Pin from the original page for God’s sake! Don’t pin from Google, Google doesn’t own any of those images.
I know a lot of people are choosing not to use it based on the idea that Pinterest owns an image once it’s pinned but if I’m browsing a site that has a Pin it button, I think it’s safe to assume they have read and agreed to the TOU.
So, yeah, pin properly, give proper credit, check links before you repin, don’t give it all away in the description so no one has to visit the site and don’t worry if you’ll never own the clothes 😉

Nanette February 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I hate discovering that a pin doesn’t link back to the original source.

And the affiliate link thing doesn’t/didn’t bother me either. I’d prefer they do that instead of charging membership for users, ya know? Also, a friend said Pinterest actually decided to stop doing that after all the user uproar, so it may be a non-issue at this point.

Maribel Reyes February 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm

In all honesty I love Pinterest. I like looking up recipes, pictures of food, crafts, pictures of crafts, fashion, makeup, places love them all. I do pin directly from the site {although I didn’t at the beginning} and I do pin my own recipes from my blog and on the places to visit board I also sometimes link up to my own personal blog.

Like you said if you don’t like what you are seeing just unfollow that board or person. It is fascinating how much the Pinterest community has grown, at the beginning you would request an invite and it would take up to 2 weeks for approval now it takes a couple of minutes. As for copyright issues, well I agree with what you said about the internet. Once you upload a picture or email it’s there even if you delete it.

Cathy Andrews February 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I was a late “Pinner” because I just didn’t get it. But now I check that more than Facebook! I love Pinterest and try to stay out of all the mumbo jumbo. I love the feeling I get when I see something that is made so simply that I go, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I, too, would like to filter out certain things(the skinny crap has got to go because eating cheescake sounds WAY better than running!). Anyway, people are going to complain no matter what about every site. Look at all the uproar every time Facebook changes? The way I see it is I am not paying for it so let the makers do as they wish.

Christa the BabbyMama February 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I am not bothered by the copyright concerns or the making money concerns – though I’d like it not to become super markety. For me, Pinterest is a place I go for ideas instead of having to randomly encounter them in the wild on blogs. So far, it has inspired my numbered stairs, my new living room pillows (painted by me), the P.’s birthday colors, the big bows I made for our hair, and more. I’ve cooked recipes I found on Pinterest and had a lot of fun daydreaming, too. I also pin my own stuff because it’s another avenue for showing off. I was feeling inadequate for a bit, I’ll admit it, but fact is, everyone can do different things and that’s okay. Pinterest in moderation, as with all things!

Craftwhack February 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Or just Pinterest until your eyes bleed, because sometimes that’s fun, too. 🙂

Anjie February 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I love Pinterest! It doesn’t make me feel bad but I didn’t realize the copyright issues before you mentioned them. Good point.

Shell Flower February 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Great thoughts here. I’ve been resisting Pinterest due to other time-sucks already in place, but this post really helps give me an overview of what it’s all about. It’s the way of the future, redefining copyright like everything else on the interwebz.

Cloud February 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I’ve never gone on Pinterest, and given the reach through terms, I doubt I’ll join. I don’t like sites that claim ownership of content I generate. I am consistent… that is one of the reasons I’m not on Facebook, too.

I think Google has it right with the terms of service for Blogger:

“Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services. ”

I think the affiliate links are fine. As you say, they have to make money. I’d rather they do it via affiliate links than by claiming ownership of my content!

Reading (and chickens) February 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I don’t get the following people on Pinterest thing. Of course, I am not really a good Pinterest user. I feel like an old lady fumbling around when I try Pinterest. The following boards things makes a lot of sense–I might just do that!

Trina February 27, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I love love love Pinterest. I completely recommend that more people follow just boards of what they are interested in. It will make more sense to them then. I call Pinterest Visual Google.

I also agree and recommend that people should always link back to the original site. To me, that’s the only way the site works.

Alexis February 28, 2012 at 5:34 am

I don’t really do Pinterest, once signed up I found it somewhat unintuitive plus it is time consuming to check that everything pins to the right place, has the right links etc. However, I hear you on these points. The Content/Copyright/Marketing things are tricky. Regulating content is borderline censorship, copyright can be hazy in the world of public access internet and while I take no issue with using affiliate links (in fact if I am planning on purchasing something, I will go to a site I like and click through there, might as well right?) but I get why some people do. I suspect Pinterest will eventually head the way of Etsy where a nice, home-made, “crafty” site will explode into some kind of mass production money machine, but hey, that might just be the way the cookie crumbles in our modern times. I do find it to be an interesting study in human behavior that almost all new sites of this nature follow this same path though…probably a big message in there somewhere…

Cloud February 28, 2012 at 7:00 am

To be honest, I think the big message is that programmers like to eat, too. Developing and running these sites costs money. So people try to make money off of them.

KT February 28, 2012 at 7:09 am

I love Pinterest! The site doesn’t make me feel inadequate- I make sure to only pin things that I actually think I could do (DIY stuff) or that would work with our house. I definitely use it for cooking and have started to follow a few blogs because of finding great pins.

The one thing that is really frustrating is all of the websites out there that you can’t pin because they don’t have a “larger image.” There are a bunch of design-related sites or retail stores that need to reconfigure their website in order for me to pin something. I’m sure that they would be more than happy to have people pinning their products- it’s another way to get their stuff out there for free!

Ashley // Our Little Apartment February 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

I use Pinterest a tiny bit (like, 6 times total?) and I have two thoughts:

1- I love that it’s a big source of traffic to my blog. On the flip side:
2- I’m annoyed that everyone seems to be doing more ‘pretty things’ posts and tutorials on their blogs to get pinned. It seems…insincere?

I don’t use it much because I already have SO many things that I want to do/make/see and most bookmarking I do, I never actually revisit, so it’d be a waste of time for me. I mean, it IS gorgeous, but the cost-benefit (how much time I spend getting sucked in vs. how much good comes out of it) seems lacking for me, personally. I know a TON of people use it for a myriad of useful things, but I just haven’t found it particularly helpful.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks February 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I’m glad you posted about Pinterest. I think it’s a buzz right now and deserves to be considered in a thoughtful way. You’ve opened up an interesting conversation. My own involvement with Pinterest involved signing up for an account and never using it. I just don’t have the time or the energy to be bothered.

Sela Toki February 29, 2012 at 12:36 am

Once in a while I go into Pinterest. My sister-in-law, niece and daughter are heavy Pinterest users and they come up with the most adorable things. There’s a Pinterest lotion idea that really works for my skin out her in the dry, dessert weather of Utah. I love Pinterest and hates to think that people are starting to make it more complicated than it really has to. Thanks for posting about it.

Kate February 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I love pinterest! But, for me – not for anyone else. It’s my place to organize all my jumbled loose ends into one semi-coherent string. And, it’s easy on the eyes – quick, to the point and ready at your fingertips. It’s one of the best tools I’ve found for organizing meal plans, crafts for Beckett and me and just the endless stream of “great ideas” you run across. Me likey Pinterest!

Missy | The Literal Mom February 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I’m doing a ton of my meal planning now too. And I love Pinterest – like you – I’m kind of like “what’s all the fuss about?” With the angry people. You are so right – don’t like something? Unfollow.

Craftwhack February 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm

You make some great points here, Ginger. I was surprised when I heard people felt intimidated and uncomfortable about using Pinterest, because it’s such a personal site. You just pin what you like; what inspires you. It’s not a competition to see who’s the most visually brilliant. I follow people who seem interesting, and then I unfollow boards if I find I’m annoyed by them. OR, I find one board of someone’s that I like and follow just that one. I think the people who love it the most have decided to use it in a personal way without regard for what everyone else will think of their pins. Whew. Didn’t know I had so much to say on this topic…

ARC March 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm

I posted my rant about why I hate Pinterest a few weeks ago. It does nothing for me. I use OneNote to “pin” (and make notes on) stuff I want to try.

Wanda March 5, 2012 at 7:42 am

This is a lawyer’s take on the Pinterest TOS, explained very well for lay-people. Very eye-opening.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: