On Friday I joined Pinterest and it promptly swallowed my weekend. If you’re not familiar with Pinterest it’s a somewhat controversial site which allows you to ‘pin’ images from the net to virtual pinboards. Gathering shiny things from the net like virtual magpies you can easily and quickly make collections of inspirational images. The controversy is around copyright violation. The site has a couple of rather flimsy figleaves it attempts to hide behind but the fact is that a fair amount of the ‘pinning’ on the site is not approved of by the image owners. This is a source of horror for professional photographers in particular and until last weekend I was avoiding the site for my own ethical reasons.

However I’ve started using it. Why? Because Pinterest has been the largest single source of referrals to my blog recently – even before I joined it. Yes, this means that some of my images were being pinned without my consent but honestly it’s not like I’m ever going to make money from my photos anyway so, whatever. And also – pretty things and the opportunity to arrange pretty things. Deep, huh?

In order to use Pinterest without my conscience eating me nibble by nibble I’ve come up with some rules which will help me to use it without violating people’s copyright.

I only pin in these scenarios:

1) The image is my own or I know that the original pinner is the owner of the image.

2) The link to the source works and the source encourages or allows pinning of their images and I am reasonably confident that the source is the owner of the image.

3) The source is a shop. This is based on the assumption that free advertising is usually appreciated.

This isn’t foolproof but it seems to be a reasonable compromise. I’ve only been on it a few days and the beautiful images I’ve not pinned because they were blatantly stolen would be enough to make you weep.

If, like me, you are a gardening blogger who is happy for others to use your images then it might be worth at least enabling the ‘share’ button for Pinterest.

So, dear readers, do you use Pinterest? Do you have your own set of rules for using it well? Do you have any thoughts on the issues regarding the site? I could rant about this for pages and pages but I’ll save you the horror and stop now and distract you with –

Look! Tulip!

Tulipa 'Professor Roentgen'

Tulipa ‘Professor Roentgen’


10 responses to “Pinteresting?

  1. Have avoided Pinterest for the very reasons you mention. Recently I added a ‘which photos you are welcome to use’ (sort of) tab on my blog Loose and Leafy ( ) but as I exclude some (a very few) I couldn’t really add a Pinterest pinning button even if I were pleased people appreciated the others enough to ‘Pin’. But what you don’t mention is how to put the button there. I see you have a little one in the ‘share this’ row. Do only Pinterest members have this option or is there one for non-members too?

    • On a wordpress blog it’s an option in the settings for the share buttons and it automatically adds it to every post now. I don’t think you need an account but I think you’ll be lucky if you manage to restrict it to just some of your pictures. Good luck!

  2. I don’t use pinterest because I feel I have my hands full with my blog and Facebook.

  3. wifemothergardener

    Like you, I get quite a lot of traffic to my blog from Pinterest. As long as the links direct people to my site, I think that it is a good deal. As a blogger, I appreciate it when people like my articles enough to want to refer other people to them. And it does not get more easy to do that than with Pinterest, in my opinion.

    There is html that bloggers can add to their site to make it un-pinnable. I do not understand why more people who are concerned about their photos being stolen do not use it… ??

    As far as being a user, I have found that Pinterest has replaced the “garden combo” or magazine type photo clipping that I used to do. I keep folders for each of my favorite gardens in the US and UK, where I can look when I want to remember, “What was that planting at Great Dixter from last spring?” Very helpful!

    • Well, I suspect some of them don’t even know pinterest exists, let alone that you can block it and some of them wouldn’t know how to do it if they did. I’m not confident with html and yet I manage to run a blog – note I haven’t figured out how to make my ‘follow me’ link a proper pinterest one yet! Also I suspect you could get round that by downloading the image to your pc and then loading it direct. I’ve come across several professional looking images which just lead to an img file and not a site.

      I agree with you that pinterest is a great tool for bloggers and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. But I’ve come across images where the source site was a photo selling site – you can’t get more blatant than pinning an image from a site designed to sell that image for money.

      This is one of those areas – like eating meat or buying clothes from cheap clothing shops – where we each have to draw our own lines in the sand about what we, personally, will or will not do.

  4. Well, you are welcome to pin any of mine! Florindae OK & bulking up in year 2?

  5. They just take a bit of time to emerge….especially this year!

  6. I came across Pinterest in exactly the same way. What’s that? I asked, and then lost a chunk of life finding out. What I’ve found is that an enormous number of the pictures turn up again and again and again. Finding something lovely AND new can be quite a challenge. Rules-wise, I hadn’t elucidated them as clearly to myself as you have, but you pretty much sum up my approach. I also prefer to link back to the original website, rather than another pinner, and I keep away from other Pinterest-type sites that aggregate pictures unless I can chase the image back further,. I’ve just started folloiwng your gardening boards looking foward to seeing more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s