10 April 2013

How to handle Pinterest?

Pinterest, love it or hate it, is becoming an increasingly large part of the idea-space for all sorts of things, including the sort of historic costuming and re-creation things I post here. I'm probably late to this party, but I have noticed that a significant fraction of my incoming traffic comes from there (well, less so here than on my photo archive over at Flickr). For the record, I neither love nor hate Pinterest - I'm just trying to sort out how best to make use of it.

Let's be clear: I have no problem with my stuff being pinned. There are reasons why I post my photos under Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND specifically), and one of them is to allow people to use and share my work, with the major condition that it include proper attribution and linkback.

But there are a few things I'm struggling to figure out with Pinterest. One of the big ones is how to stay involved in the conversation about my work. If someone comments here, or at the photos, I get that feedback, and I can respond if I want to. If someone re-pins or comments on my photos on Pinterest, though, I may never notice. I don't see the traffic until someone actually clicks through, and my suspicion is that's actually a pretty small fraction of the activity. Do I continuously search Pinterest for myself to keep tabs on things (or automate that with Google alerts)? Would that even work (aside from the awkward vanity aspect)?

What about items that are pinned in ways that are potentially misleading? There's a dress of mine on a board that's nominally about a drastically different culture (different place, 400-500 years apart!) I'm not representing my work as being the style of that culture, but people who don't dig down might not know that. That's not even getting to the potential issue of things posted without attribution, and although I'm really hoping that's not a big issue, it's dark matter to me - if it's not attributed to me, I'll probably never see it. I get the impression, though, that users are getting a bit better about proper linking than they were in the early days of the site (wishful thinking?)

None of these things are really unique to Pinterest - they were all issues to consider before as well - but Pinterest has made it so much easier, so the volume is higher and it's harder to ignore. There's also the potential to leverage the site for additional exposure. I've considered preemptively pinning everything I post here, for example, on a blatant self-promotion board. Would that be in terribly poor form? Or just completely ineffective?

If there are any creators with input or suggestions about how to handle your work on Pinterest, I'd be interested to hear them.


Edyth Miller said...

Pinterest is kind of that gray area for me as well. I know that I haven't been very proactive in making my blog images particularly pin-friendly, but as long as the link still comes to my page, I don't worry too much about letting the pinner write their own description. If I were to come across an error in the description for one of my pictures that I couldn't overlook, I would not hesitate to comment and make the correction.

In the past 6 months or so, I've definitely seen a large amount of traffic coming in from Pintrest. Unfortunately, very few visitors seem to actually get past the original landing page, which makes me believe that the larger percentage of people pinning my stuff are not as serious about it as I am. That being the case, I try to occasionally monitor the "other pins from..." page on a monthly basis, just to keep an eye on things.

It's certainly become a valuable tool for me- I have found several new blogs and information just by browsing the boards my stuff has been pinned to. As Pinterest has grown, it looks like it's becoming a better tool for costumers and historical recreation- as long as we all treat each other's contributions with respect.

adela said...

I signed up with Pinterest only recently and so far like what I see. I do get an email every time someone re-pins my pin. I do make a point and follow the link to that person or board that my pin was re-pinned.
If it would land into a significantly false surroundings - like you describe 400years time difference - there is always the option of commenting that pin. That way you can let anybody else know what they are looking at.
And the pin will always lead to you, even if it isn't attributed in the byline. If anyone checks out the pin they will find you.

Catrijn vanden Westhende said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Edyth.

Adela, I get that things (if pinned correctly) will always come back to my sites. But there doesn't seem to be a way to be notified of them. If someone pins a post of mine, I don't necessarily know, and the e-mail if it's re-pinned goes to them, not me.

Helene said...

Pinterest doesn't really offer much support documentation, but you can backtrack on pin searches. This link points to a search that finds pins from your blog:
http://pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=http%3A%2F%2Fcatrijn.blogspot.com and this pin points to a search that finds pins from your flickr feed: search/pins/?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2Fcatrijn%2F . Those two links should cover most of it.

I think a lot of people don't realize that they ruin the pin trail if they upload pictures instead of pointing, so you can always comment with the proper link to let them know. I do this a lot with museum photos that have been re-posted via tumblr.

Our local guilds are starting to use Flickr as a way to share project photos of guild work and show off the fun things we are working on. So far, I really like it

Perhaps you could start a guild page for your local/kingdom guilds and have an excuse to show off your pretty stuff :) The naming convention for boards that we have been using is "guild-chapter-kingdom-sca" to help make searching for boards easier.