Pinterest – the refrigerator door of the Internet

refrigerator doorMagnetic calendars, soccer schedules, thing-to-do lists, clippings of things you want to buy, obituaries, family pictures, wedding announcements – they all end up stuck to the refrigerator door.  Now the web’s all abuzz with the latest social media fad, the internet version of the refrigerator door, Pinterest.   Although this picture/video curation site has been around since 2010, it seems to have caught fire in the last few months as folks are making little virtual bulletin boards and “pinning” images from the web that interest them (get it? P+Interest), just like sticking stuff to the family’s refrigerator door.

For those of you who may have heard of  Pinterest but not yet explored it, I will share a few questions I had before becoming  a not-so-dedicated user.

 Is it a chick thing?

The first question I had about Pinterest was “is it a chick thing?”  Your first look might will probably expose you to classy women’s shoes, finely decorated rooms, food delights, women’s clothing, and pictures of cute kittens. My friend, Janice Person wonders if guys on Pinterest need to turn in their man cards.  Another blog points out that women are visual, and yet another calls Pinterest catnip to women. Even Quora addresses the proportion of Pinterest users who are women.  There is guy stuff on there too, and as more businesses see the value of pinning their products, audiences will certainly be targeted.  It’s just that I see more women’s shoe and cupcakes than I see men’s shoes and socket wrench sets. I have many files of clippings going decades back.  Too many for the refrigerator.  Maybe I should scan them.

Is it a porn site?

You can find some R-rated pictures on Pinterest if you are really looking for them.  More than you would find on most family refrigerator doors; but that is a very small fraction of the content.  I guess porn is in the eye of the beholder, and if it hasn’t already happened, I guess we can expect a porn pinning site.

Is there spam?

Any open online forum lends itself to spammer abuse.  You can pin (and repin the pins of others) as much as you want, so you will see a lot of redundant/tedious stuff, and the pins contain a link to the most recent source, so I guess there is a lot of backlink potential for  SEO savvy folks.  I seem to find more and more folks making .jpg files out of text to pin. [That technique is being used on Facebook too, because pictures have more weight on FB than just plain text. If I can ever write something about FB edge rank that makes sense, I will certainly post it.]

What about Copyright issues?

The Internet’s just one big old Kumbayah bunch of love, trust, and sharing, right?  Keep sharing that copyrighted material that you are not quite sure of the source and don’t really think you need permission to share, and see how Kumbayah that letter from the high-powered big city attorney sounds.  The copyright thing has caused a lot of early Pinterest adopters to remove their pins and boards and start over clean or just quit pinning altogether.  I am now pinning only content I create, or Public Domain, or Creative Commons licensed material.

Terms of Service

Terms of Service?  Sounds vaguely familiar.  You know, that’s the little box you check when you open an account with an online platform that says you have read the terms and fully understand them.  There has been a lot written about Pinterest’s Terms of Service – your intellectual property rights and responsibilities.  I am not an attorney, so I will leave that for you to Google.

Happy pinning!  Don’t stick yourself.

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