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Pinterest isn’t for Everyone

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If you’ve found this post online, I’m going to assume that you’ve heard of Pinterest. If by some quirk of fate you haven’t heard of Pinterest, it’s basically an online “pin board” for sharing ideas, inspiration, etc.

(Image: Pinterest provided this logo.)

I was “invited” to join Pinterest a long time ago by a caring friend. I politely declined. At the time, I had my cyberhands full already with Twitter, Facebook and my website. Two hands, three things…you can picture the juggling.

Then, Pinterest starting gaining more of a foothold in my various circles of friends, and more people started inviting me. I admit I became rather curious about this site that could cause such an addiction so quickly.

Just a few weeks ago, I finally succumbed to temptation and joined and then abruptly hit my first Pinterest Catch-22.

My first problem with Pinterest: You’re not supposed to pin your own things. Why? This makes no sense to me.

The things that inspire me are photos taken by my husband or me. I’m not conceited. I’m not trying to sell anything. They speak to me. They keep me focused. I keep photos that inspire me as the background on my phone and my computer.

If Pinterest is supposed to be a source of Inspiration or a group of things that inspire me AND things that may inspire others, these photos are a perfect fit. I had them “pinned” on my Pinterest site before I realized that it is a major faux pax.


My second problem with Pinterest: People are pinning things without crediting the original sources.  Because I respect copyright law to the Nth degree, I almost always avoid using pictures I haven’t taken myself…for anything. (Yes, I’ve passed along a funny photo on Facebook that doesn’t have a source clearly listed, but I do that rarely, and it still raises a red flag for me.) If forced to use someone else’s photo, I always document the source. Depending on the photo, this can take a lot of work.

Artists are getting upset that their work isn’t being credited. Recipe Creators are upset about the same thing. I get it. I really do. Because of this, I avoid pinning things from other people.

As I mentioned above, I’m already juggling so many things, I don’t have time for something that is going to create even more work for me, unless I can see the benefit.  (Spoiler alert: I’m not seeing the benefit of Pinterest.)

For those of you keeping track at home: I can’t pin my own things. I can’t pin other people’s things.

I’m reminded of the scene in The Princess Bride when Vizzini realizes he cannot choose the wine in front of himself, nor can he choose the wine in front of The Man in Black.  (Oddly enough, both wine glasses were indeed poisoned, so Vezzini’s “dizzying intellect” was actually pretty close to the mark.)

But, I digress…

Okay, so I’m not allowed to actually “pin” things in good conscience. What about using Pinterest for inspiration? I asked Pinterest Addicts how they use Pinterest, and the overwhelming response was: “Recipes!”

This old dog already has great tricks that work perfectly well:

1) I have an awesome magazine subscription that I use for recipes. 2) I also use this wonderful thing called the Internet. Google, specifically. Have you heard of this? Most of the time, it leads me to two or three top-notch sites devoted specifically to recipes! What a concept! In mere seconds, thousands of recipes are at your fingertips, all including the ingredients you want to use. It’s awesome. You should try it. I’ve been doing it for many, many years to great success. *cough*

Also? I’m not planning a wedding, a baby shower, or doing any more home improvement projects. (May all the corresponding gods be praised!) And, if I were, I’m just more of a type it in and get an answer right away kinda gal. I don’t have time to scroll through hundreds of (albeit beautiful) pictures that may or may not be linked back to their original sources.

Then again, maybe I’m being too harsh on Pinterest. Truth be told, I absolutely hated Twitter until the moment I loved it. Go figure.

So, what about you? Do you wish someone would invite you to Pinterest so you could check it out for yourself? Are you avoiding the invitation in your Inbox? Are you an addict? Do you hate it? Tell us!

Author: JoAnn

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson March 7, 2012

    I don’t think there is a rule about not pinning your own things. In fact, there are some companies who are on Pinterest for that express purpose (and I follow them for that reason). I just think there is a loose rule…yes, pin your own things but don’t have them be the majority of your boards. Some of my favorite pinners are pinning their own great recipes and ideas but they’re also sharing other people’s ideas.

    Out of all the social media, it’s the least self-promotional which, in my opinion, makes it more authentic. I won’t repin something unless I really like it (as opposed to Facebook and Twitter where I’m fine with reposting something a friend asks me to do).

  • comment avatar Sydney Green March 7, 2012

    I don’t get it….

  • comment avatar Amber's Crazy Bloggin' Canuck March 7, 2012

    Have you tried or just stayed away?

  • comment avatar Sydney March 7, 2012

    just stayed away – feel like it would be one more thing to keep up with! I don’t know, thats also what i used to say about fb 🙂

    • comment avatar Cindey March 7, 2012

      I agree. Too much going on to kepp up with another site. I got board of it quickly.

  • comment avatar Kayla March 7, 2012

    I tried it. I don’t like it. I think there are a lot of great aspects to it but Pinterest but like Facebook and other online social media it has started to destroy marriages. I know a lot of people who complain their marriages are falling apart but they spend hours on Pinterest daily. It’s already hard enough to balance schedules and day to day life before adding another addiction in.

  • comment avatar Kayla March 7, 2012

    I do admit, the copyright thing scares me. A lawyer recently wrote an article about it after deleting her account. All liability falls on you, the person who pins.

  • comment avatar Chrissy March 7, 2012

    Rules schmools… I agree with Amber.. the don’t pin your own things deal is to try to control those same people who get on twitter and ONLY tweet posts from their blog.

    Don’t post ONLY your things if you want to be social with the way you use Pinterest. If not I think there is an option to make your boards private so do that and never follow or be followed and use it for your own personal inspiration.

    For people who don’t want their images pinned…. Pinterest gives a little code that you can place on your website, a bunch like the one I used way back in the day that kept people from right clicking and saving images off of my website.

    Are there things that annoy me about Pinterest.. yes! I wish there was an easy way to follow people who have followed you other than the emails. I sometimes get 50 follows in a day I don’t have time to open and click on 50 emails but I would have time to click on the red buttons if they were all in a row somewhere.

    But pretty much I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

  • comment avatar Jill March 7, 2012

    I am 100% in agreement with Crissy. The only thing I don’t love is how I can get sucked into it for hour(s).

    This is the first I’ve heard about a Pinterest code – not that I’d want to use it. For me it brings great traffic.

    There is an easy way to follow people that have followed you! Just log in to your profile and click on your followers. Right there next to their names it shows whether you are following them or not and gives you the option to follow.

  • comment avatar Kurt Henninger March 7, 2012

    You know, I’ve seen pinterest rise from virtually nothing to well….kind of a large phenominal ‘thing’ online in the last couple of months.

    It’s really interesting how “social sites” seem to go in cycles. For a while now, there has been a huge consolidation of social sites….with FB, and Twitter the big winners.

    Who remembers Digg? Stumbleupon? Or related to pinterest….flickr?

    Now comes along Google+, pinterest. It seems like the social “hangout” market is looking for more diversity in where and how people connect online.


  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz March 7, 2012

    I feel somewhat responsible for your joining Twitter (do I recall correctly?) so I’m glad it “took.”

    In some ways, Pinterest is a lot like Mary Kay or Amway. “Oh, you don’t love it? Then you must not understand it. Let me explain it to you again!”

    That said, I’m on Pinterest but not very active. I pinned a bunch of my own stuff before I knew was taboo. Which begs a question: If there’s a rule of etiquette that no one abides, is it still a rule? Not a very powerful one.

  • comment avatar Ratna getcluedIn March 7, 2012

    I too have tried it and find it … ahhh not as addictive as some people claim. Honestly I am with you and I do pin my own stuff. I cannot imagine a forum where I wouldn’t share my own articles- that is ridiculous. Ah well – haul me away and throw me in PIN-Jail 🙂 ha

    In any case I have to say some positives about pinterest when I started pinning my own stuff, my traffic increased to my posts and site and other people re-pinning helps me get more traffic. As a blogger just starting out in this whole maze of trying to get 500 hits per month, I like it. But then again…. I am not out there pinning or PINING 🙂 away.

    Good article and it is good to see all the thoughts and opinions.

  • comment avatar Gretchen White March 7, 2012

    I’m avoiding Pinterest because in nearly every description I’ve read, people talk about how “addicted” they are to it—spending hours a day looking and pinning and dreaming. Barf. Addiction of any sort should be avoided and I have an addictive personality. And then I’d worry about followers and following and all that BS I already deal with when it comes to blogging, Twitter, and FB.

    I have my own system for keeping track of recipes and other intriguing ideas. It’s crazy. Here it goes:

    On my Mac, I have a little button that looks like a book. I click it when I’m on a webpage I want to remember. It puts it in a little folder for me. BAM.

    Of course, in doing this I don’t have legions of people confirming that I have excellent taste, which I’m sure is a reason why people like Pinterest…more validation.

  • comment avatar Gretchen White March 7, 2012

    Wow, that came out very snarky. I really am glad people have found a nice way to keep track of what inspires them. I have a way that works that doesn’t require maintenance, invitations, followers, worries about ethics or legalities. In other words, it’s complicated being simple.

    • comment avatar Kagey March 7, 2012

      I didn’t think you were being snarky, and I agree that if someone’s first impression of something is how “addictive” it is, that’s not a positive endorsement. That sends me running the other way. I don’t need one more time-sinkhole in my life.

      I also don’t like that Pinterest essentially makes me feel the same way nice home decor or fashion magazines do: “honey there is something wrong with you/ your home / your clothes! Don’t you want to look like this?” And the look they showcase is inevitably nearly-impossible for me to achieve or maintain. White carpets, anyone? Some of the pins are fun DIY ideas, and I really enjoy re-pinning good quotes, but that’s not what most of the pins are.

  • comment avatar Chris Bird March 7, 2012

    We can all Google things we need, recipes we’re looking for, places we want to go, how-to’s, etc. But, what we *can’t* Google are things we don’t know we need, recipes we don’t know we want to try, places we never knew we wanted to go and clever ideas we never thought of. That’s what Pinterest is for.

    • comment avatar Kagey March 7, 2012

      I agree that the “browsing” effect of Pinterest is really nice.

  • comment avatar Nikki March 7, 2012

    Thanks JoAnn, your post got me thinking, a lot. I agree that the whole copyright issue is yet to be decided, and it may very well be the demise of Pinterest. At the same time, I do see a lot of potential for the site to promote women’s artistic commerce–the whole homemade movement, for example. In the end, I’m glad to see folks writing and talking about the issues–thank you!

  • comment avatar Tina March 7, 2012

    Thanks for the post, and being one of the first people to I have heard of to NOT like Pinterest. When I first went to the site, I loved it, especially the design stuff and the eco-clothing. However, I found the novelty wore off pretty quickly. I am hoping to use it to promote my new blog,, so I’ll see how it goes.
    Tina, DoubleScoop

  • comment avatar Daria March 7, 2012

    I love Pinterest for the crafts, interior design inspiration, landscaping ideas, recipes… I may google recipes, but not find something – OOH, I HAVE to make that. I like having those spontaneous inspirations.

    That said, I use Pinterest in waves. Some days I find all kinds of stuff I want to keep track of or have in one spot. Other times I ignore it for days.

    I have to agree with some of the ladies that I’ve kind of ignored the hulabalu about the copyright issues, pinning etiquette, etc. Rules Smoolz and I’ll use it as long as I am enjoying it. 🙂

    I rarely check stats, so don’t know if it’s brought traffic. But it has definitely brought great food and fun crafts to my family. 🙂

  • comment avatar rajean March 7, 2012

    I’m a Pinterest newbie, a member not yet a week. I avoided it for the addictive qualities many mention and like you, JoAnn, I feel I juggle enough. I have already pinned a few of your photographs. I hope that by pinning, they lead people back to your site. Haven’t investigated enough to know, but they inspire me too. I have pinned a few things from my blog. I plan to learn how to make pretty quotes because I think I’ll become even more famous when people share my wisdom.

    I’ll admit, I lost more sleep than I should have my first three or four days on the site. But I think I am managing my time there a lot better.

    So far, this is my favorite takeaway. I am getting to know people I know a little bit better. Online and real-life friends. I’m learning their taste a bit better, what they like to make for dinner or wish to make, how they like to decorate their home, what quotes inspire them or what makes them laugh or scratch their head and say, hmm.

  • comment avatar Cara March 7, 2012

    I am one of the lovers. I love the inspiration, I love the browsing for ideas. I love seeing what my friends like and being inspired from it. I think the addiction of Pinterest wears off and the true enjoyment of being visually stimulated and inspired takes over.
    It makes me smile.