I joined Pinterest pretty early on, and I’ve watched it grow enormously in such a short time. I love that it is filled with so many people sharing so much content. I love that it helps drive traffic to blogs and connect people who share common interests. But on a site where everything is user-contributed, things can get a bit chaotic. Searching for ideas can be hard when “I love this so much. OMG” and “I could totally make that” are the descriptors of choice, and the images attached are for a lucite desk and a wedding Save the Date card, respectively.
Like a needle in a haystack.
We all pin with different purposes in mind, but it’s nice to make what you add accessible to all. For that reason, think before you pin. If it’s an item for sale, include the price with a $ or £ sign and it will show up on the pin. If the maker is on Pinterest, use their handle and credit them personally. Add hashtags, too.
For instance, any recipe I come across that is for those with food allergies, I add #allergyfree. I appreciate this immensely when I’m searching. Additionally, if I post a piece of art, furniture or other item to which I can attribute a creator, I try to include it. It helps. It’s nice.
But sometimes descriptions are about more than courtesy.
I spoke with a few DIY and food bloggers because there is a huge copyright issue that concerns them specifically. Some pinners literally cut and paste the directions/recipes along with the image they pin. This is absolutely wrong.
RULE: Never paste content from a blog post onto a pin. Titles are fine, but actual content, no. This includes DIY tutorials, recipes and narratives.
JJ has a fantastic food blog called 84th and 3rd. If I were to pin one of her gluten free recipes onto Pinterest with the recipe attached, I would not only be violating copyright by lifting her writing onto another site, but I’d also be taking away her site traffic. Neither one is OK. Aside from the recipe’s name, I shouldn’t be bringing anything but JJ’s image over on a pin. Like this:
AS JJ told me, “Having our recipes/creations/art pinned will drive traffic. The ‘everyday user’ doesn’t care – and may not even know that putting all the info in a pin means that we lose traffic – they may not even know what traffic is. I guess I feel that having my stuff pinned, as long as what is written is good, will create more awareness of my site no matter what. If a user sees a pin with a full recipe they like they may well click through to see if there is anything else of interest.”
And how does she pin recipes she finds?
“I always try to pin using the recipe title and perhaps a small elaboration if it is something that will help me remember why I pinned in the first place – i.e. instead of ‘Vanilla Cake’ I would put ‘one bowl Vanilla Cake’ or ‘Vanilla Cake with a really surprising ingredient.’”
Christa Jane, of C Jane Create, makes another good point. “Over time, the person who put in all the hard work creating the project and blog post will be forgotten and someone else will end up with the credit. This also brings up the issue of permalinks … something so simple that so many people don’t understand. When I pin something, I always click through to make sure that it goes to the originating post before I pin it myself.”
Maegan, whose Love Maegan site tutorials are found “sourced” across the web, says, “the reason I like Pinterest versus, let’s just say, Tumblr or We Heart It, is that MOST of my “pins” there do link back to my blog. I do find it frustrating when I see that someone has pasted my entire text on “how to” do the DIY in the Pinterest description section, making it unnecessary to click through to my site… Pinterest is now my second referrer of traffic to my blog (StumbleUpon is 1st), so mostly, I’m happy about it.”
JJ, Christa Jane and Maegan love what they do, and these issues aren’t going to stop them from creating and sharing what they love. But we still need to change things.
RULE: When you find a recipe/tutorial/image to repin that has original blog content attached, simply delete it before repinning. While it’s not your responsibility to be the Pinterest Hall Monitor and tell people to take down those pins, by repinning without those details you’re helping to end the cycle.
I also have a suggestion for Pinterest. Let’s decrease the character limit for the description box. With 200 characters we should be able to describe with ease and put an end to content lifting. What do you think? Do you think 200 is sufficient?
Also, if you’re trying to locate your content on Pinterest, but the descriptions aren’t helping, you can find your URL-specific content easily by typing in the following address (I learned this via a post on Yellow Blackbird last year):
http://pinterest.com/source/your URLhere.com BUT switch out the last part with your URL. Don’t include http or www. Just your domain name.
If you find your own posts pinned in a way that doesn’t seem right, report it to Pinterest. Or, if you feel comfortable, leave the person a comment. Chances are they don’t know it’s wrong, but that doesn’t make it right. xo a.
P.S. There have been so many questions about Pinterest, and I want to keep this dialog open. So, please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have questions or concerns and don’t know what to do. This is what this cyber village is all about.