Pinterest used to be my happy place

by julie on January 15, 2013

Once upon a time, I got a Pinterest account. I had to ask for an invitation first, which was a tad obnoxious, but I overlooked that.

I loved Pinterest. It was even more than I thought it would be. Scrolling through pages of beautifully furnished rooms, architectural marvels, lavish confections, and the occasional pithy quote — Pinterest was where I went when the rest of the Internet was pissing me off.

My retreat. My safe haven.

Pinterest is now my angry place, and not just because I’m trying to curtail my consumption of sweets.

I click on a gorgeous clutch only to discover that the link goes to a flash sale or members-only site. I can barely glimpse the name of the designer or brand before the stupid pop-up box blocks my view, directing me to log in or sign up.

I click on a delicious-looking pan of lemon bars only to discover that the link goes to a page entirely unrelated to lemon bars. No recipe.

I click on a stunning photo of a faraway city or countryside only to discover that the link goes to a Tumblr. With no source cited.

It’s been a gradual decline between us, Pinterest and me. I didn’t always get so upset when I clicked through to a dead end. I often just repinned the surface loveliness without investigating the depths.

Now, I click. And when I really love the surface loveliness but the depths are dubious, I go looking for the rightful owner — or a valid source, at least. Sometimes I find one. Sometimes I can only find a never-ending spiral of Tumblrs, like shell companies in the Caribbean.

Pinning stuff from flash sale sites is just annoying, but pinning content created by others — recipes, photographs, DIY how-to’s — without crediting the source…it’s not right. I don’t expect much from those who are ignorant of intellectual property rights and consider the Internet at large to be public domain, but it makes me cringe when fellow creatives inadvertently pin content that doesn’t link back to the source.

So I’m clicking all potential pins before pinning, and I’m spending a bit of time each day clicking through my existing pins to check the links. If the link’s good — great. If not, I look for a valid source and change the link. If I can’t find a proper source, I don’t pin it (or I delete my existing pin). No matter how pretty it is.

Kristen - Motherhood Uncensored January 16, 2013 at 8:11 am

You mean you don’t just like the pretty pictures and you want them to like DO SOMETHING? How dare you? Ha.

Since working with Springpad at Cool Mom Tech (as you know), I’ve really been meaning to make the leap (even though I don’t use Pinterest personally). I think there’s more value there, at least for me, anyway, since when you click on a board, you know it does something other than send you to a flash site.

julie January 16, 2013 at 8:31 am

I really need to investigate Springpad. I love what we did with them at CMP, and I think it could be a far more valuable tool for me, given the way I use Pinterest.

Amanda January 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

Ok, naive question. I don’t use Pinterest a lot. When I find something amazing, say an artist featured on a blog, I typically go in search of the artist’s own page from which to link. Is it enough that in my pin I can see at the bottom, “Pinned to “Wear” from Zara.com” ?

Don’t want to contribute to the Pissterest.

julie January 16, 2013 at 8:30 am

Personally, I’m cool with linking to the blog where you found the artist featured, so long as that blog links to the artist’s own page (and it’s not a spammy sort of blog, you know?). For example, I pin stuff that we’ve featured on Cool Mom Picks, linking to our post, because I know we’ve credited the original source in our post.

Tracey January 16, 2013 at 8:30 am

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who gets annoyed at the bait and switch taking place on Pinterest. After getting burned, I now check the link behind every pretty photo. If it doesn’t go to a related post, it’s dead to me.

ohjennymae January 16, 2013 at 9:32 am

the dead ends are annoying. i tend to just repin to save time, but should really click through. and if i find something i want to pin from a site like design sponge, i always click over to the original source, too.

Kim Cunningham January 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

Agree! I spend a little extra time investigating potential pins, not only for my sake, but for followers who may repin from me. Who wants boards full of dead ends, spam, and uncredited sources?

Cathy January 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Can I ask a dumb question (as a very late-comer to Pinterest)? If I pin something from a web page using the “Pin It” button on my toolbar, the pin would then have the correct link … right? Obviously, the link can still go dead later if the URL changes, but generally, I should be covered if I start from the page I want to pin. (And that’s assuming I’m on the original page, not somewhere on Tumblr where it’s been reblogged 57 times.)

julie January 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Yes! Not dumb at all. Never hurts to double check that when you click the link in the pin, it goes where you want it to. Kind of like all the link checking web producers do (or should do, heh).

Cathy January 16, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Well, I have a handy little bot that checks links for me on my site!

Christa the BabbyMama January 18, 2013 at 7:57 am

I thought linking to the source was good manners, but then the marketers got involved. Trust me, I know this, as my employer has been hot to use Pinterest as trickily as possible. Makes me sad.

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