13 June 2016
pinterest pet peeves... and what to do about them
I have been on Pinterest a long time. I honestly can’t remember when I started, though I think it was in the early days of when an invite was required to join. Which, you know, makes me utterly prehistoric by social media user standards!
In that time I have not gone crazy with pinning. I even at one time deleted all my pins and stopped using the site for a while. But with the expansion of private boards and some changes to the game play, I have found it to be a really handy place to begin my research into a topic and find beautiful things and have slowly been coming back to openly using it again. And I'll admit, nor can I ignore it's crazy-useful ability to bring visitors to my blog.
But that aside, Pinterest is far from perfect (like most things) and there are a few particularly recurring 'bugbears' that make it less than the smooth resource I know it can be.
1. No man's land
Oh crikey! The internet is a living, breathing creature and things evolve rapidly, so I get it. But Pinterest is fast becoming riddled with a graveyard of places lost in the river of time.
Pins that have broken dead ends, that take me to a home or other page working on a rolling chronology, and pins that link to an image host page (example) rather than the article they are connected with.
Instead I ask this:
Install and make use of the Pinterest browser button. For a long while I resisted and would add pins manually, sometimes I still do but with the Pinterest extension it makes life so much easier. And when pinning that pin, check it is connecting to the permalink.
What is a ‘permalink’ you may ask? A permalink is a permanent static hyperlink to a particular web page or entry in a blog. In other words, this link makes it easy to locate a specific article again in future, unlike choosing the home page or some other rolling page that updates as new entries are added.
An example of a permalink looks like this:
// a few of my current boards
2. Words matter
Fortunately Pinterest has now put a limit to this, but there are still plenty of pins with uber-long descriptions/information. So much so in many instances that it defeats the point for jumping to the original source and diminishes the credit given to the creator.
Apart from this though, such long descriptives stop the visual flow when scanning the stream and do not actually add anything to the search function of Pinterest. Same goes for non-existent or reactionary descriptives. Likewise hashtag overkill is equally unhelpful and visually intrusive.
Instead I ask this:
Pinterest is a visual beast, so be selective with the hashtags and verbage. Better still use keyword-kind descriptives for the pin. Though the limit on Pinterest is topped at 500 characters, a 200-character format that uses intelligible sentence structure has been shown to be more effective in getting pins reshared and therefore found by others.
The bonus of this is that if you are searching within your own boards to pull up all relevant pins, you have a way better success rate of finding them again too.
Oh my gods! With the rise in popularity of businesses using Pinterest to drive traffic (see above), there is the inevitable trend too of spam disguised as pretty stuff invading the Pinterest stream.
This is frustrating to users who eagerly click on what appears to be an interesting and relevant pin and *whomp!* you are redirected to an advert for something completely unrelated. Obviously it works, but why?!
And then there is the more obvious advertising for gaming apps and the like. This is something that is more under the control of Pinterest HQ than it’s users, but when a site is self-declared to be a “tool for visual bookmarking that helps you discover and save creative ideas” I do not feel that these things align with it’s leading mission.
Instead I ask this:
Be wary of what you find and don’t unwittingly promote spam or other irrelevant things. Folks should be free from that. It’s not always obvious, especially in the case of the ‘spam disguised as pretty’, so a good rule of thumb is ‘like’ before you ‘pin’. Then when you do come across it, help others by using the integrated option to report it.
// my current stream of likes waiting to be sorted
4. Repetition overwhelm
Seemingly with an estimated 50 billion pins across 1 billion boards Pinterest would appear to have a mind-boggling wealth of information and great ideas at users’ fingertips. However of that, only 20% is actually original content!
Which means there’s a whole lot of repetition and multiple graphics for the same sources. Let alone the incestuous nature of like-creating-like. Pinterest may be a source for finding and cataloguing completed ideas, but it is not a stream of true creativity and inspiration. On the other hand it is a great place to observe rising trends...
The problem with this is that when researching an idea there is only a limited pool of resources to look at. This is why Pinterest is great as a starting point, but far from the final destination. With all the duplicate entries it can be confusing and frustrating to sift through all the extraneous pins on the way to finding the gold.
Instead I ask this:
Look outside of the Pinterest goldfish bowl for true and original inspiration. Be a contributor more than a recycler. Make the beauty that is the Pinterest experience a place of discovering and saving new creative ideas from new sources. Get out there and pin original content and shift the balance between the pins and the repins of this world.
Lastly, a rule of thumb
If any of this is to go by, my best advice is to ‘like’ before you ‘pin’ when it comes to repins within the Pinterest matrix. Pin carefully and with respect to the maker. And when you get a moment consider auditing your pins and pull out those that have gone astray. If you really love them, go old-school and save them offline.
Ultimately slow down and take the time to check the sources, save the truly good quality and unique finds, and make the Pinterest experience that much better for all involved. I and your fellow pinners will thank you for it.
How do you feel about these bugbears? Have I missed your pet pin’ peeve? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime if I haven't spoiled all the fun, consider joining me on Pinterest.
:: BEKA ::
// further reading //
The Problem with Pinterest, by Emily May
When to Pull the Pin, by Kal Barteski
Google Needs to Fix the Pinterest Problem and Soon, by Michael Martinez