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Monday, February 25, 2013

Adventures in pinning - pinterest = visual bookmarking? scrapbooking?

So, I've been experimenting with pinterest, which up until now, has been predominantly used by women over 50. To be honest, initially, I could have cared less about pinterest. I really couldn't see a reason to use it as it seemed to be all DIY, crafts, fashion, recipes, and childcare stuff...  kind of a glittery glued, bubblegum, hearts and flowers stickered sorority bulletin board...  Confession here: I'm not a mom and I don't get the "mom" culture and we'll just leave it at that. ;-)

Yet, with delicious struggling to re-invent itself yet again (seriously my 1700+ bookmarks are a mess), I needed a way to organize my readings, projects, things I want to revisit, and yes... even things I want to buy. So, I decided to give pinterest a try.


  • Exploding usage
  • Easy to use* (mostly - see below) 
  • Still very "girly" tho it is obviously starting to shift as others use it. Photography and art are natural fits; as are infographics (generally statistics represented graphically). 
  • "Clip" (copy) URLs into a board - if the URL breaks you still have your pin with your description and whatever image you used (both good and bad - if your content outside of pinterest gets misused it is harder to get it all off of pinterest - although you can report pins OR if you need to get back to the original link, you can't at that point) 
  • Can pin to multiple boards through repinning and pins can be deleted. 
  • Put "pins" (clips/bookmarks) into boards (your personal category) which is then tied to an overall category. 
  • Boards can be created, rearranged, and deleted; they have their own URL created by the title of the board. 
  • Pins can be emailed or embedded into a website; they can also be reported for misuse.
  • Boards can be private or shared amongst users (Pinners).
  • Pinners can subscribe to individual boards or to all of your boards; you can do the same. 
  • Interesting uses: highlight collections in libraries, museums or archives; share history through digitized documents and images, portfolios and CVs, collective curation on particular topics. 
  • Pinners can "like" and leave comments, although it is hard to keep track of these within the pinterest interface. You will get notified of each of these via email but you can turn that off or limit it to a daily email.   
  • Pinterest tools and 3rd party tools/apps to embed pinboards and pins into websites (even into Facebook pages)
  • Search by boards, pins, or pinner or by category (chronological browse) or most popular 
  • Some limited analytics including pinalytics 
  • Free and fun
  • Image required - if pinterest can not find an appropriate sized image on the page, it will not "pin" (copy URL to bookmark on your board) and you'll have to create (or borrow) an image  to upload in order to "pin" your resource. There is no default image you can use for a particular type. This is a bit of limitation if you are trying to bookmark blogs with heavy text, PDFs, working papers, procedural or organizational websites with small logos, etc. 
  • Organization woes: No way to organize pins WITHIN a board; overall categories are limited;  too many boards (maybe sub-boards would help?) and pins turn an account into a jumble; no customization of individual account 
  • Broken URLs - if a URL breaks, while you still have whatever description and image you used, you can't get back to the original link.
  • Board URLs - if you change the name of the board, you change the URL. Ridiculous. 
  • Pinterest will connect with twitter, email, and facebook, if you will allow it. However, it will recommend people to you who have no pins or boards. Why would you want to follow someone who has no content?
  • Pinterest is not really for "all" websites as it states - Facebook is blocked, among other sites. Some sites (shopping seems to include the pin button) make it easy to pin things, while other sites are blocking pinterest. There are ways around the block, but I am not going to post those publicly.
  • Pinterest is sorely lacking in analytics. While pinalytics is ok, it would be nice if pinterest provided some sort of built in analytics, especially for those of using it to document our work, build portfolios, or keep up with our reputation.   
  • Concerns over copyright - Pinterest's copyright statement is here. In the beginning, there were huge concerns from the photography community and if you follow the photography boards, you see that photos are posted without citation at times. Mashable's realistic advice on pinterest is here but I can see where it is still an issue.  Now, we've always had the issue of wrongful use (stealing - inadvertently or not) with the internet, but it does seem that Pinterest has made it that much easier. 
  • What is real? In my opinion, copyright and authenticity are the 2 biggest issues with Pinterest.  As provenance is often lost for pins, it is sometimes hard for people to determine if an image is digital art or real photography; if a gadget has actually been created or is a prototype or photoshop mockup. 
I realize pinterest is very much in evolution, so it is possible that some of these issues will sort out. 
You can find my pins at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Georgia,
Thank you for including Pinalytics in your article and the feedback about the tool, its great to hear what you and others think of it and learn how we can improve it. For more Pinalytics updates please follow us on Twitter @pinalytics or at