How to Pin on Pinterest

• 02 April 2012

This month I've started dabbling in Pinterest...finding things to "pin", creating albums for personal and public use, and making it easier for you to pin things from my blog with the click of a button (if you felt inspired to do so).  A little late to the game, yes, but better late than never!  I guess you could say that before I felt good about adding anything else mildly distracting to my life, the timing had to be right.

That being said, I cannot resist any longer :)

I've been watching the chatter on Twitter over the past few months as many artists (photographers, chefs, stylists, etc.) have become frustrated with the lack of credibility given to their work; some have even boycotted Pinterest all together.  I think we all assume that the links on the pins are correct (I know I did!), but that is not always the case.  While I am not a professional photographer, I do snap many of my own images for this blog and I've occasionally been notified when my images are being attributed to another blog/individual  You see, a lot of work goes into making time for shooting, shooting, editing, uploading, etc. and to see someone just snatch it up in seconds is a bit disconcerting; I'm sure it's unintentional, but insensitive nonetheless.  Can you imagine how it would feel to be a professional and to watch this type of thing happen over and over?  Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest, seems like the nicest guy ever (his keynote at Alt was a conference highlight to be sure), and I know that it isn't his intention to create a platform for stealing intellectual property.  However, the fact remains that it's still easy to do unless one is consciously and rightfully attributing images on Pinterest. If we all pull together and do this the right way, together we can make Pinterest a happy place for everyone.

And now, the embarrassing news...when I first started pinning this month, I actually pinned improperly to my boards.  Oh man, I felt so guilty when I realized what I'd done!  Lesson learned: Pinterest will not automatically and properly source an image--this part is our responsibility.  I decided to write this post, gleaning insight from seasoned pinners, and share my new found knowledge in the form of 5 different "pinning scenarios".  My goal is to simply share, not preach.  Hopefully what you'll see and read will keep you from making the same mistakes I did!  At the end of this post, we will all know how to correctly pin on Pinterest and we'll all feel better logging on, knowing that we are giving credit where credit is due.  Ready to learn more?

How to Pin on Pinterest: Scenario no.1:

So let's say you find something beautiful that you want to add to one of your Pinterest boards.  I'll use this "Easter terrarium" image from Terrain as the example (you know I have a thing for terrariums...).

Take a quick moment and add the "pin it" bookmarklet to your bookmarks tool bar to make pinning super convenient.  While the page with the Easter/Spring terrarium is open, click on the "pin it" button in your toolbar.

A screen that looks like this will come up.  Click on the image you want to pin.

Then a screen like this will pop up.  Pinterest is giving you options as to where you want to place it...maybe in one of your existing boards?  or maybe a new board?  I decided to place the image of the Easter/Spring Terrarium on my "tabletop" board (see right images).

I typed in a brief description, including the name of the source (double coverage).  Success!

How to Pin on Pinterest: Scenario no.2:

When an image comes from directly from the source (as in scenario no.1), pinning is a cinch.   However, when an comes from another blog, it's not as cut and dry.  Let's peek at this adorable party created by Karen Mordechai for her daughter Sophia; a party that was also featured on Sara's Party Perfect (a really fun site for party ideas!).  Even though the party is showcased on Sara's blog, if you decide to pin the image, it should be attributed to Karen, yes? 

Now Sara is always great about crediting images--she probably has a 100% track record--so luckily the link to Karen's blog is included in the post.  In cases like this, all you need to do is click on the original source...typically mentioned within the body of text or at the end of the post.  In the post on Sara's Party Perfect, I clicked on the "Sunday Suppers" link at the bottom of the post and it linked me directly to the original post on Karen's blog.  Then I pinned it :)

My screen looked like this:

I then selected the image I wanted to pin and the board where I wanted the image placed (let's party).  I included a brief description as to why I liked it so much and then clicked "pin it".

How to Pin on Pinterest: Scenario no.3:

You're trolling Smitten Kitchen (or another great food blog), just hoping to find something appetizing and quick to make for dinner tonight.  Ah ha!  You find it.  Oh and that picture is so pretty, you just have to pin it to your "dinner tonight" board.

But hold your horses here a moment...there is a quick 2-second-step you can do that will make it easy for your followers to track back the pin to the actual recipe, even if it is "repinned" a million times (they will thank you for this!).  All you need to do as you scan down the front page is to take a second to click on the actual post url BEFORE clicking "pin it".  On Deb's blog, if your cursor touches the title of the post a message pops up "grab the permanent link to lasagna bolognese".  A gentle reminder that linking to the permanent link, vs. the general main page, is the best way to go.

When you click on the permanent link (the title of the post), the post will pop to the top of the page.  Now, pin it!  The direct link will now be associated with your pin, making it super easy for your followers to track down this seemingly fabulous recipe.  No more searching through mounds of posts to find what you need as it was pinned correctly from step 1, thanks to you!

How to Pin on Pinterest: Scenario no.4: 

Now what do you do when you want to pin something on a blog that includes images, and the appropriate artist name, but not a link?  Danyelle Mathews, expert pinner and author of the delightful blog, Dandee Designs, recommended a quick Google search of the artist's name...surely a link to a blog, website or Facebook page will pop up.  Then, in the "describe your pin" box include the artist's name as well as a link to his or her site.  It might take you an extra 60 seconds, but that artist will thank you.  If you believe in karma like I do, then you know this is an extra step worth taking.

How to Pin on Pinterest: Scenario no.5: 

If the post doesn't indicate a link or a lead of any kind, then it's probably wise to just say "pass".  Chances are you'll stumble upon the proper source at some point in the near future.  Case in point: not 15 minutes after I pinned an uncredited image, the original source popped up in one of my other searches.  I will never make that mistake again (note: I've since gone back and deleted the pins without credit)).  Just think, if one image is pinned and repinned without credit, then a snowball effect takes place and suddenly there is a diaspora of copyright theft and plagiarism throughout the site.  And that is precisely what we want to avoid, right?!

I am very optimistic about the future of the site, especially after receiving the recent email from Pinterest regarding updated terms; but I do believe it's our responsibility to be honest in our pinning, as we seek to be inspired by the works and ideas that make Pinterest the beautiful place it is.  For this post I asked a few bloggers to share a bit of advice...I just love the idea of having so much helpful information in one post!

Here's what they had to sure to add your two cents in the comments too.  Thanks!

Chelsea / {frolic!}: "I label each photo with the original source in the caption and if it is not linked to the original source, I add the link in the caption."

Jenn / Ambrosia Creative: "Sometimes I'd pin a different item from a website/e-commerce site than the original pin that drew me in the first place.  In that case, I make sure to "via @pinterestuser" so that they get proper credit."

Victoria / SF Girl by Bay: "I never pin anything I don't know the source of."

Kirsten / Simply Grove: "My biggest tip is to pin from the correct url.  It's frustrating when I click on the link and it only takes me to a blog and not the direct link."

Tara / Tara Whitney Photography: "If you think you have bad links on your boards, go through your pins and fix them.  I am currently in the process of doing this on my own boards as I want to make sure people are getting proper credit."

Victoria / A Subtle Revelry / Styled Mag: "Bold, straight front photos with a striking contrast seem to be the most shared and everyone seems to love sharing DIY projects.  I think almost all pinners have a "craft" or "stuff to make" board."

Lindsay / M.Stetson Design: "My newest goal with pins is to use proper keywords in the descriptions so it will help others find them when they search."

Bottom line: Pinterest is pretty much one of the prettiest places on the web.  Let's keep it good lookin' on the inside and out!  If you have any comments, thoughts or tips to share, please do!


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