My Love/Hate Relationship With Pinterest

I have been pondering this post for about a month now,  however, it seemed so daunting to write that I keep putting it off.  Today finally seems to be the day that I break my silence about the subject of Pinterest and my thoughts on the buzz surrounding copy right issues, creative licensing, and how information is being used (and sometimes abused) by consumers of this site.

Why I love Pinterest…

Like so many of you I adore Pinterest!  My entire life I have been a visual person. It is how I relate to things, how I learn, and how I process information.  As far back as I can remember I have kept a binder of inspiring images, colors, home interiors, and projects I would love to try!  Pinterest is just like my trusty binder, only magnified a million times, and in an easy online format that enables me to keep more inspiration at my fingertips!

The site is well designed, beautiful to look at and easy to navigate.  I read a lot of craft, business, and DIY blogs, but it is impossible to keep up with them all.  Pinterest allows me to find information from websites I may have never encountered in one easy click of my mouse.  All I have to do is log into my account and I can find the latest and greatest information right on my computer screen.  Easy Peasy!

I would be lying if I didn’t mention the ego boost I get when something I have created is pinned.  It is humbling to know that someone took the time to pin a tutorial or product from my blog or website, and other people liked it enough to re-pin it to their boards.  That is all very exciting!  Even those times when I wish people would pin my products to a “products I love” board (or at least note where the craft kit can be purchased) I still get excited knowing that my designs are loved.  {ahhh :) }

The beginning of a rocky relationship…

I became a member early on, and was excited about this new social media site and what it could offer.  It was still relatively new at that point and I didn’t know of a lot of people using it.  Most of the users were fellow crafters, bloggers, and some DIY industry folks.  It was manageable and most everyone at that time was just pinning each others stuff or stuff from their own sites.  I was immediately drawn into pinning and found myself dedicating a lot of time to it.  Then it dawned on me one day that all the pinning I was doing from websites somehow seemed wrong.  Prior to Pinterest, if I was to “right-click” on a photo from someones website or to post a project whiteout a bloggers permission, it would have been taboo.  Just because there was a social media platform telling us this was ok really should not have changed that…yet somehow it made it ok.  My internal struggle led me to leave Pinterest for a while and I kind of just forgot about it. Then it seemed as if overnight the company exploded!  People were following me right and left.  I also noticed that I was receiving more traffic to my website from Pinterest than any other source.  How could that be if I was never on there???  I suddenly became intrigued and revisited my account on Pinterest.

I was super excited about the traffic to my website and I thought the more active I was on Pinterest the more my sales would increase.  For a couple of months I tracked what items of mine were being pinned, both for sale products from my website and free tutorials from my blog.  My stuff was being pinned all over the place and I should have seen a huge increase in sales, right?  Wrong.  How could this be?  Then I started noticing how my items were being pinned.  Very few people were taking the products from my website and pinning them as products.  They were pinning them into party ideas, DIY, classroom ideas, etc. All of these are perfectly fine ways to describe the use of my craft kits, however, from looking at these pins a person not familiar with my website would have no idea these products were for sale.  I also began noticing that when a product was pinned for the umpteenth time that the source was somehow missing from the pin.  Most of the time it would just read source: via  Thank goodness on all of my tutorial photos I add a watermark with my website URL, however, on my product photos I don’t have that.  How would anyone know where these items came from?  It will definitely changed the way I list products on my website in the future.

I continued to struggle with this for sometime, but felt very alone in these feelings.  Everyone else constantly talked about how great Pinterest was.  Business owners were raving about increased traffic and sales, consumers were loving the inspiration, and everywhere I turned sources would tell me that if I was not on Pinterest my business would suffer!  I decided to just keep plugging away hoping for the best.

Then there was a shift….

A few artists and photographers, people in the handmade community, and business owners spoke up about their feelings regarding the Pinterest craze.  It seemed I was not the only person who felt funny about what was happening.  The more I dug into the subject, the more alarming the information I found became.  I am not going to rehash every article I read, but I do feel compelled to link to a few of these articles so that you can read them for yourself.  Some of what you read may surprise you.  It surprised me!  Below are a few of the recent articles I have read.

What one lawyer has to say about Pinterest’s Terms of Use- DDK Portraits

Ethical Pinning and The Golden Rules of Pinterest- Oh My Handmade Goodness

Information for Bloggers and People Who Use Pinterest- Living Locurto

Is Pinterest Making Money From User Content?- NY Times

If there you are to do a quick Google search you will turn up all kinds of articles pointing to Pinterest.  These articles point out the good, the bad and the ugly side of this popular social media tool.  My intent of this post is not to persuade you in any one direction, or to judge any decision you may make to continue using Pinterest or not.  Heck I don’t even know how I am going to proceed with my account at this point.  I just feel compelled to pass along the information that I have read so you can make an informed decision.

I am at a crossroads at this point as I see both sides.  I don’t want to act to swiftly but I have to say I am leaning toward the deletion of my boards.  I love what this tool can provide, but for me it is not worth the risk of being sued over image use (the article from the lawyer really hit home with me).  I think Pinterest has an amazing product but there are still kinks that need to be worked out.  In the meantime I am trying to be as careful as I can be when pinning and re-pinning.  I will keep you posted as I hope this discussion will continue beyond this post.

I am leaving the comments open and would love to hear your thoughts and constructive feedback on this subject.  How do you feel about Pinterest at this time?  Do you worry about Copyright issues?  Are you a conscious pinner?  As a business owner have you seen an increase in traffic or sales on your website? Share you thoughts!




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5 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship With Pinterest

  1. I’m kind of in watch and see mode. I don’t want to lose pinterest – but I realize I need to be more careful about repinning – and take the time to make sure before I do repin that the source is right.
    I think I’ll be going through my boards and deleting anything that isn’t the original source.
    Thanks for the discussion!!

    • I am with ya Bev. I don’t want to lose Pinterest either but I at this time I am having a hard time processing all of the information I keep reading about potential issues with the site. I guess I am in wait and see mode as well. In the meantime, you have offered a great suggestion about going back to make sure your pins are sourced correctly. Sounds like a daunting task, however, once complete it will be easier to to move forward with a clean slate. Thank you for your comments! Can’t wait to see you soon!

  2. I’m very new to Pinterest and have not grasped the concept of it completely. I’m on the double-sided edge with yes it increases traffic and possible sales to your website, but at the same time, people are and can “steal” your work because it is all without permission. At the same token, some of us who really don’t have the hang of it yet are repining because we liked a great recipe or amazing “outfit” look we saw on a friends board, is merely innocent repining. We are bringing awareness to the original creator, however like you stated, it doesn’t always show who that is. I can not even figure out how to put a price or website onto my pictures of my products, though I did see someone else do it–brilliant idea! Thanks for tackling this issue!!!

    • Thanks for your comment Susan! I understand where you are coming from. It is so easy to just repin something without thinking twice about where it is coming from. I have done that so many times, and in fact, I caught myself doing it just the other day. I find myself getting caught up in the moment and I forget about everything else. I think most of the people on Pinterest are doing just that and it is all very innocent. I don’t believe that the majority of the people are out there trying to steal ideas or not give credit where it is due, but unfortunately the nature of Pinterest makes it very easy for all of this to happen. I don’t know how quickly Pinterest will make changes to their service, if ever, and so it will really fall on the user to be more conscious about the type of information they are pinning and how they are pinning it. From my own experience this is easier said than done because for me part of the allure of Pinterest is how quick and easy it is. When I have to go and physically hunt down a source, or make sure an image isn’t infringing on any copyright issues then it becomes work. I already have enough work on my plate right now, ha! This is a great discussion and again thanks for weighing in on the topic!

  3. Pingback: Where I Am With Pinterest {A Follow Up} |

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