Why I love and hate Pinterest

Posted on January 11, 2013


No, I’m not going to complain about the suggestions I get about crochet pinboards. Nor the time it took the company to get that iPad app out.

I generally really enjoy Pinterest. Even use it for work.


As we all know, visual content is where so much web activity is at. And for me, Pinterest – above Facebook, Instagram (do we just say Facebook now?) and other social sites – is the easiest way to share and cluster such content.

I’m also clearly not the only one to think so. According to Experian Hitwise, Pinterest usage in developed web economies such as the UK and US increased ten-fold – or even higher – during 2012. (As a side subject, while Pinterest famously skews towards female users, in the UK the gender split is more even. I have no idea why.)

But while I love the service, I also hate it. Why? How about the part of me that hates unattributed material. I realise I’m different to 99 per cent of web users on this, though probably similar to most people who have relied on media companies to pay their salary.

The ease with which Pinterest allows anyone to re-post (‘pin’) an image is also the ease with which it lets a user rip off a source. Can be a blogger, small biz website or a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist.

I try to attribute, just like on Twitter where some undoubtedly think me weird for adding a link’s source in [square] brackets in each tweet.

But I don’t always, I admit it.

Does anyone care? I bet a bunch of content creators do.

The answer, some would say, is to embed provenance. That works for footers on infographics, for example, but we haven’t yet got a watermarking solution for photos that seems to work.

Follow Tony on Twitter – @tphallett

Posted in: Social media