What was the last thing you pinned? Are you pinning? If you’re an 18-45 year old woman, of course you are… at least according to my extremely scientific research. For those still not hip to this new-ish social media outlet, Pinterest is basically a way to create “inspiration” or idea boards, linking each pin back to the original source (although there seems to be some possible legal issues about this). I joined in August 2011 after exploring the various boards for a while and deciding that creating my boards could be rather useful. Little did I know that I would make it my third most visited site, right after Facebook and my Gmail inbox.
When I joined Pinterest, I thought it was great — don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s great, but it’s just… different now. Last summer, I was one of around 1.8 million users, which means I was cool before pinning a photo and simply captioning it “This.” was cool. The latest info I can find counts about 11 million users for the site, and that’s from January, so it’s more likely to be around 14 million now. That infographic backs up my super scientific research that most Pinterest users are women, but I was slightly off on the ages: while only6% of the Pinners are between the ages of 18-24, most users are between 25 and 54 years old… which actually surprises me a little bit… While exploring the boards and clicking around, I was introduced to products, useful tips, and design ideas I never would have come across otherwise. Unfortunately, this pandemic-style growth of Pinterest has given me a few pin-related pet peeves.
1. You have to wade through a lot of lame pins to find something cool because you can’t narrow your interests.
I cringe every time I see the pins with wedding attire featuring camouflage and hunting orange details. Same goes for the “hillbilly wineglasses” made of Mason jars and short glass candle sticks. While those are probably fantastic for some bride-to-be, that’s all just… no. No, thank you. I wish it was easier to limit the types of pins you see by your interests. I love arts and crafts/DIY, but I’m so tired of seeing crochet and quilting pins. Nice for someone else, absolutely useless to me. I think it’s fantastic that Pinterest can be such a great resource to my friends who teach elementary education, but to be quite honest, I’ve had to unfollow all of the boards with different learning or activity centers and the like. Not my thing, either. But, being able to pick and choose particular boards of a single user instead of having to follow everything works for me.
2. Anyone can follow you, and people treat it like Facebook.
I’m flattered that people are interested in what I’m pinning, or like what I’ve pinned/repinned enough that they post it on their own boards. Still, I kind of wish I could block people. Pinterest is not Facebook, and unless you’re one of those Facebook friend padders who adds random people you see, there’s an even greater chance that you don’t actually know the people with whom you’re connected. However, I don’t feel the need to connect with every person I know across every social media outlet I utilize. You follow someone because you tend to like the things they’re posting, not because you had 7th period English together in high school. It’s not about who has the most followers, unless there is a really sad “most followers on Pinterest” contest of which I’m not aware. Then you get into the Pinterest flame wars, fights between users started about the content or image of the pin that usually stray away from the original topic within 10 comments. Has no one ever told them that when you fight about something online, no one wins?
3. Just like Facebook, there are the spammers, and then there are people who just don’t get it.
There’s a difference, and while they’re both just little annoyances, the second is something that can be fixed. On Facebook and Twitter, you get friend or follow requests from fake accounts all the time. Looks like those fakers have overflowed into Pinterest, since you have to have an account with one or the other site to become a Pinner. The spammers can be identified by comments that read something like this: “hey- great pin, come check out my boards” or “wow-great photo, follow my boards.” Annoying. But the second category is a two parter: those who have several (upwards of 100) boards with only one thing on each one, or those who have one or two boards, but pin everything to one of those two. Turns out that the users with tons of boards and 1-2 pins on each are spammers, too.
While I do check the boards and categories I’m interested in just about every day (mainly “Everything” and “DIY and Crafts”), I’m moving outward to the blogs, sites, and other sources that have caught my attention. I end up bringing those ideas or items into my curated collections, which all of my 160 or so followers can see. I’ve made or bought some of the cool things I’ve found or pinned on Pinterest, like these, this, and these guys. Here are a few tips for successful pinning:
- Make sure the image you’re using goes to the original source. It sucks having to track down the directions for a project or a delicious recipe.
- Always give your pin a relevant caption that provides a little more of a description than “awesome, doing this.” I’m guilty of it, but I’m getting better about it.
- Categorize your boards so other pinners can have an easier time browsing for ideas.
- Take your pinning beyond the boards! When you find something interesting on another site, pin it so others can discover it, expanding the ever-growing pool of, well, stuff that is there to look through.
This summer, take some time to do one of those DIY art projects you found while on your lunch break, or whip up some of those cookies from the recipe you found waiting for another site to load. Although it seems like I have a lot of complaints about Pinterest, the only pet peeve that really bothers me is that I don’t have the time to make all of the awesome ideas I’ve found!
What about you? Anything you particularly love about Pinterest? Anything that bugs you? If you need some “pinspiration,” feel free to check out my boards, but please, don’t feel obligated to follow me.