Pinterest…to join or not to join.

Too late for me too ask, perhaps, as I’ve already joined. I was quite eager to do so too, and got very impatient when the promised invite wasn’t as fast in getting to my inbox as I had hoped. (why do they have that pointless feature, anyway?) I took the shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach with this Pinterest animal but once I had it down, I wasn’t so sure I still wanted it.

Everyone is going on about Pinterest, you see. Well, perhaps not everyone, but they say it’s the next facebook. On the surface it seems brilliant. Create a space where you show case things that pique your interest, find and connect with people with whom you have similar likes/taste and connect with them. You show case these things of interest on ‘boards’ – ‘pin’ them. If you come across something that strikes your fancy and it’s on someone else’s board you’ve got an option to repin it to you board, credit is automatically given to the source. People go to Pinterest for ideas on home decor, weddings, fashion, and just to see what else is out there. Some use it as a source of inspiration. Others for promotional purposes. You can pick up photos for your boards from websites as your surf the web with a ‘pin it’ add-on that is available to add to your browser, or upload from your device. You’ll need the app for some devices. You can have as many boards as you want, displaying whatever you want. Art, handmade crafts, knit work, architecture, name it, it’s all there. Sounds brilliant, right?

So I thought. Here’s what I’ve found. Once you pin an original creation, you can’t control it’s circulation or how it might be used. Sure, your name will be cited on the repins, but imagine this creation of yours – photo, art, whatever – goes around 2000 times (several things do go around thousands of times) you’ll have no idea where it is or who is using it for what, or even claiming it as their own. Yes, downside to the Internet 101.

A case in point; I, a Pinterest novice, go on to sign up, get told I’ll be sent an invite soon (what?!) and once it comes (24 hours later) I proceed to create an account and some boards, one of which I named ‘sites and travel’. I then went on to upload some photos I loved from some London sites. One of these is a photo of myself along the bridge from the Tate museum to St Paul’s cathedral. It’s a windy day with a dark cloudy sky, and St Paul’s looks quite magnificent against this background. I don’t look too bad in the pic, either. Pinned, said  Pinterest, once upload was complete. A few seconds later I received a notification. Someone somewhere in North America had repinned it to his church designs board. Hmm? Well, no problem with that, really, except it got me thinking. What happens if this photo goes around say, 20 times? It’s world wide web, after all. Would that be something I would be comfortable with? It is a definite possibility, you see, and the world is a huge place. I gave that a few minutes’ thought, and brought my uploading to an indefinite halt.

Reading up some more on people’s experiences with Pinterest, I found that many had had copyright concerns. Pinterest completely removes itself from all copyright responsibility, whatsoever. The users are responsible for how they use  what they use, permissions, etc. I can’t really fault Pinterest for this, but it gets you thinking. Repinning other users’ photos is a given, but what are you going to do? Email hundreds of people every before you repin asking permission, or will you just repin thinking, well, the originator’s name will show. What if it’s your product? You need to be ready to accept that it’ll go around and you don’t know where or how it will end up. If you’re in it for self- promotion, brands, etc, you probably won’t mind. For me the worry, I guess, is that with Pinterest the scale of photos going around is much higher than it is on, say, a blog, or twitter, or even Facebook. Which, actually, is also one of it’s biggest attractions for many.

A bit of a catch-22…? I don’t know, I’ll let you decide. I’d like to know what you think of Pinterest. Are you using it, or are you one of those that took down their photos after learning of the copyright implications? (several people did) Or are you planning to try it out one of these days? Whatever it is, I’d love to hear your take.


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