Pinning Down Pinterest

Demystifying Yet Another Social Site

For those of you who have not heard, Pinterest is the new rage for social sharing.  It allows you to take photo or video from sites you find on the internet and add those you love to your Pinterest profile. You then have a collection of visual things you love, want, hate, whatever.


Here are some definitions for you-

Pin it or Pinning –

Think of a cork board. When you put a pin in the cork board you are adding something to it. You are “pinning” the thing to your cork board.  This is the same, but it is electronic.  Your “Pin” is a button on your toolbar that allows you to take whatever you like (there are limitations which I’ll explain in a moment) and put it on your “board” on Pinterest. You can also pin directly from your computer by uploading images.

You can get the “Pin it” button here.
Just drag it onto you bookmark bar (video example).

Then to pin something, just follow these steps (click the image to zoom):

First go to a web page you want to pin, and click "Pin It"

Then choose the picture you want to show up on your board.

Lastly, pick the board you want it to show up on, and a description to add your own thoughts about the pin.


Think of these as compartments.  You organize your e-boards according to theme.  That theme is given a name (you name it), destination and organized onto your Pinterest profile as a “board”.  When you pin something you are given a choice as to what board you want that item to belong to.  If you pin a dress, you’d put it on your “Fashion” board, provided that you have one.  Now you are able to organize your pinned items onto themed boards so people can choose from your themes.  You can add as many boards as you like.



To enable your boards to reach out to the greater community you need to make it searchable.  The best way to do that is to assign your board to a category that Pinterest has made available. There are many categories:  Architecture, art, cars & motorcycles, design, DIY & crafts, education, film music & books, fitness, food & drink, gardening, geek, hair & beauty, history, home décor, humor, kids, my life, women’s apparel, men’s apparel,  outdoors, people , pets, photography, print & posters, products, science & nature, sports, technology, travel & places, wedding & events, other. You can name your board anything you like, but you need to categorize the board into one of the above.



This is what you can name your board.  I have one called “Nerdology” and one called “Way Back When Machine”.   Be clever and creative with your titles!



When you create a board it will ask for a description.  This is where you can increase SEO as well.  Give a full description, including the board’s name, category and any keywords, but try to work it all in as part of the description if you can. Also, be sure to add your URL if that’s appropriate to the board, or to the pin for that matter.


Who can pin? –

You can allow friends to pin to your board, but you must add them first. You add them via their Pinterest name.


You can sign in to Pinterest using your Facebook or Twitter accounts or go through the process to create a new profile manually.  Be sure to create something fun for your profile description.  Tell people about yourself and give them an idea of what kinds of things they can find on your profile.



Where ever people gather in large numbers there will be marketers and SPAM.  This isn’t Twitter and you don’ t have to automatically follow someone who follows you.  If someone follows you, check out their profile. If they have cool stuff you like, follow them. If they haven’t even taken the time to pin anything before they started adding friends you may want to pass on the follow.


And that brings me to the next part of this article, etiquette (piniquette, if you will) and things to know.

If you are an artist and you do not want people using your photos you can get some code from Pinterest that you can add to your site that will not allow pinning.   If you are trying to pin something and that site does not allow for pinning you will get a message letting you know that, or you’ll get an error message and it just won’t allow you to pin.


If you are pinning, give credit.  You can say whatever you like about the thing you pinned, but be sure to give an artist credit if you know who the credit belongs to. It is better to pin it using the button on the toolbar than download the photo or video and upload it from your computer. The pin will record where you got it, so it can be tracked back.


If you are looking to use Pinterest as a way to promote yourself or your wares here is my best advice. Give first.  Take the time to create an interesting profile.  Have boards and put things in it BEFORE you start following everyone. Unless of course, you are a hopeless lurker and never intend on doing anything more checking out how cool other people’s profiles are.  But really, why sit it out when you can dance?


Don’t think that, just because you followed someone, they are obligated to follow you. That is certainly not the case and if you have that expectation you are just setting yourself up to be frustrated.  This is social media and people are meeting here on Pinterest, having a great time sharing their passions.  If someone doesn’t feel you’re boards/themes are something they are interested in they should not feel bad about not following someone.


Pinterest makes its money by having associate accounts anywhere that allows it and they have your pins go through their associate accounts. So if someone buys something after clicking from Pinterest to that buy page, Pinterest gets a portion.  I, for one, have no problem at all with that.  The site does not charge to join, so it needs to make money somehow.  Currently there are no ads on the site, but we’ll see how long it takes before we see that happen.


Pinterest is a way to visually share your likes and your preferences.  You can certainly create a brand with your Pinterest profile.  If you write historicals you can have a board that looks at apparel of that time period, or a board that is all about steampunk, or one that shows your book covers.


One warning though, it is addictive once you get started!

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