Lead Developer Chris Witham takes a look at Pinterest – the social media tool taking the internet by storm…
Pinterest has gained pace and users at a staggering rate, attracting over 11 million users in less time than it took Facebook to get its first million. It is one of the fastest growing websites of all time. So what is it and why might you be interested?
Your Pin Board Online
Cork board, bulletin board, pin board, call it what you like, at some point in your life you’ve almost certainly used one to collect ideas or share information. Pinterest brings this bedroom decorating, office planning, low tech device into the 21st century. And onto the web. Pinterest is your pin board online.
The growth and continued usage of the site suggests that 12 million people find it useful for some part of their online life – collecting thoughts, sharing inspirational images, pulling information together into one visual space. With continual social media growth, users are looking for quick and easy ways to share what they want with who they want. Pinterest seems to do that.
What’s the benefit?
The advantage of Pinterest is that you can easily add photos you find online to your pin boards and share them with friends or open them up for all the world to see. A newly released iPhone app lets you snap photos when you’re on the go and instantly add them to your boards. Similar to Twitter you can follow people whose boards you like, look at trends like hashtags and repin items onto your own boards. As on Facebook you can “like” and comment on other user’s pins.
It seems like a good way to collect ideas together and get peoples’ thoughts on them, you can even allow others to pin to your boards. However, your ability to limit who can see your boards is restricted, so it may not be as useful for team planning or collecting ideas you’re not ready to reveal to the world. There is also a potential issue around copyright.
Be Careful about Copyright
Pinterest’s Terms and Conditions make the user responsible for obtaining permission for any content pinned to the site. If you pin someone’s photo to the site without the owner’s permission the buck stops with you, not Pinterest. Even if you’re trying to credit the owner or link to them, Pinterest don’t take responsibility.
Pinterest have made recent improvements in methods for reporting bad content and getting copyrighted material removed from the site. Hopefully this will save people from facing big problems. But think carefully before you go pin happy and create a board of glossy photos that you don’t have the copyright to.
All in all…
Pinterest is a good bit of fun and a nice way to share things you like with others. However, it isn’t going to vie for the top spots with Facebook and Twitter.
Its use in business is limited due to low access control and restrictions about self promotion. Worth while having a look but don’t build your social media strategy around Pinterest.