A portion of my Pinterest boards

Let’s talk about Pinterest!! I’ve heard some good things, some bad things and some areas of concern … I want to know what you think …

Today’s Topic: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Pinterest

First, are you on Pinterest? How often do you use it? What do you use it for? Feel free to share your Pin name in your comment if you want people to follow you. Now, on to the meat of the discussion …

Here are some of the good things I’ve heard about Pinterest. Do you agree?

  • It’s super inspiring and makes people feel creative.
  • It’s a great place to organize ideas for events, travel and craft plans.
  • Pinterest is a good place to store things you want to look at more later.
  • It can be a good tool for promoting your craft business or blog.
Here are some of the bad things I’ve heard about Pinterest. Thoughts?
  • It’s a huge time suck.
  • It encourages copycat crafts instead of true creativity. Is this true?
  • Pinterest isn’t effective as a true social network. Related to this: an image-only site doesn’t offer everything someone is looking for.
  • It can be tough to find the original source of posted images because you have to go back through so many re-pins.
  • It’s too girly. (Yes, I’ve heard that frequently).
And there are a few major issues / areas of concern I’ve seen lately:
  • Pinterest profits from affiliate links. Many people have a problem with this. Do you?
  • People are pinning copyrighted material. @planetjune pointed out on Twitter that this includes full crochet patterns that people have no right to be posting. And @aberrantcrochet has a really thorough article on this with a balanced perspective as a designer.
  • What will it mean for Pinterest that there are now spinoff sites like Clipix?

Remember that these weekly open discussions are to generate conversation in the crochet community because your voice matters here. Feel free to say what you want to say on this topic. That said, please be respectful, especially when responding to others thoughts and comments on the blog. I’ll add my two cents in the comments as the day goes on.



San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. In no particular order:

    Pinterest is awesome. I do wonder about Clipix, which seems to be a direct rip-off, but I think that means Pinterest has been hugely successful. I hope Pinterest is able to out maneuver Clipix, but only because I hate to see sites get old and stogy while their copy-cats innovate.

    As Susie Bright has mentioned in her blog, Pinterest taps into the visual part of the brain in a way that other clippings sites haven’t.
    I find it very compelling. It can be a time sync, but I am also amazed at how fast I can scan a lot of content.

    I try to always verify what I see as legitimate before I repin.
    I don’t think Pinterest’s users linking to copyright violation content is anything Pinterest can or should do anything special about, and I pretty much agree with @aberrantcrochet’s write up, analysis.

    Copycat vs. true creativity is a tricky one. I guess the same criticisms are made of mash-ups, but my feeling is that getting folks to -do- something will eventually lead to them doing their own creative things, so it’s better to copy-cat than to do nothing.

    Too girly? Ugh. Sounds like crap from men who are offended that the entire internet isn’t catering to their interests. There is a much longer rant about that, but this isn’t the place. To me it is refreshing to see a place that is not dominated by male centric points of view.

    To me, Pinterest is a near perfect fusion of Twitter (sharing in small bits and pieces), blogging (here is stuff that I found which is cool and which isn’t as ephemeral and hard to find as old Tweets), and the link-chasing of Wikipedia (Oh, X repin’d from Y, I wonder what else Y is pin’ing).

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @dgou There are things I like about Clipix but I agree with you that it would be nice to see Pinterest continue to innovate. In that sense, I think the new copycat sites are good because they stir up competition and that helps to grow and develop sites like these so that the best option wins out.

      I’m so glad that you read the article by AberrantCrochet because I think she provides a really thorough perspective on many of the issues of concern right now with the site.

      And I love your description of Pinterest in that final paragraph. Right on. I’m curious, since you mention the Twitter-like social aspect of Pinterest, how you feel the site does in allowing social media style sharing? @imacupcake and @bentonsa have both mentioned here not really seeing it as a social site. I do see it as a social site but don’t necessarily feel like it does a great job of highlighting that aspect of it. Thoughts?

      • @CrochetBlogger AberrantCrochet @imacupcake @bentonsa It’s not social in the way that say, Twitter is, because there isn’t a direct, (near-)real-time back’n’forth. It is social, in a real sense, because the point of using Pinterest is to see the things other folks share, and to share things you’ve found elsewhere. It’s better than forums scattered hither and thither over websites across the net, because everyone has agreed to come to one place (Pinterest) to share. So it is interactive, but not directly. And it has the link-chasing aspect of Wikipedia which is social in that it let’s me find other people’s boards/pins that I might be interested in.

  2. Fruitful Fusion Reply

    For me pinterest is a great way of storing images with links. I’ve always saved images and then not known where I got them from. This way I can go back to them. True, it sucks time. That’s why I deliberately don’t log on to it every day :)

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @Fruitful Fusion I think you’ve made a great point that now you can find the source of images you save whereas before you maybe couldn’t. I’ve had that same experience for sure!

  3. Okay, I will give you my one and only impression. I was so excited about this when I heard about it. I thought it would be a great place for all those links that you post on FB/Twitter/Google+ that you later can’t find, whether they be about health, crafts, fitness, etc. I was on it twice and realized instead of a blank “board” that I pinned my interests on, it was full of stuff put there by Pinterest. There was no way to remove the things I did not want to see. It was cluttered and very difficult to navigate. What I really wanted was a place I pinned links on that my friends could access easily to find the things I talked with them about. And that allowed me to see their links the same way. I think I just misunderstood the purpose of the site so it was hugely disappointing for me.

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @bentonsa This is such an interesting point and I think it relates to what @imacupcake has said about not feeling like Pinterest is a social media site. Interesting to me because I feel like Pinterest does try to offer this by allowing you to follow the boards of your friends that you want to follow. I don’t feel like Pinterest does a great job of this, though (which it sounds like some people are glad for and others are not). One of the reasons I’m intrigued by Clipix (although I’m not entirely sold on it yet) is that I think it offers better social sharing and harnesses that aspect of the site’s possibilities more than Pinterest does.

    • @bentonsa Interesting. I only joined about a week ago, and all I got were empty boards, so it looks as if they might have changed the new user experience. Sorry it was such a disappointment. :-(

      • CrochetBlogger Reply

        @dgou I actually had the same experience you’re describing and I’ve been on it a couple of years.

  4. I’m not sure I really have anything deep to add to the conversation. I just love, love, love Pinterest and my main concern is that because of potential copyright issues it would go away at some point.

    I do also try to click through and make sure that the pin leads to an original source before re-pinning something. I hate it when I click on a pin and it just goes to a google or flickr image. I guess as a photographer that might make sense but as a crafter, I want to see the instructions or where the project came from.

    Pinterest has responded to website concerns by offering code which keeps images from being pin-able. I think this is a good step in the right direction in order to ensure that they are complying with potential copyright issues.

    Just like any other site, I think only time will tell.

    I’m at jencrutch on Pinterest if you want to follow my boards. I always try to follow people back because on Pinterest, the more the merrier in my opinion.

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @jencrutch Thanks for sharing Jen (I’ve followed a few of your boards!) I didn’t know that Pinterest had offered the code you talked about and I think that’s a great step for them although I confess that I hope most sites don’t use it. I understand the copyright concerns, especially among professional photographers, but I really think that sites like this offer more of a benefit than a drawback. I believe that the community on those sites helps to moderate out the negative stuff and that as long as the site itself responds (which it sounds like Pinterest is doing) then it’ll remain under control. My two cents. :)

  5. Pinterest has it pros and cons. I used to be on it a lot more than I am now. I am very concerned about posting something I like that is copyrighted. I don’t post them to copy anything, I just like the item or picture. My daughter likes it because she doesn’t have to fill up her computer bookmark and she can put the things she wants to save in Pinterest. I love looking at other people’s crochet, crafts, cooking, etc. I love looking at these things but now I only look and more than not do not touch. I do post things from Etsy, etc to help advertise but maybe I should not do that either, I am not sure. Now for people copying crochet patterns, can’t they do that by just looking on the internet. I don’t understand that concern.

    Sometimes, I do see a recipe I really love but can’t find the recipe itself or the origin.

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @sandyb720 While it’s true that people can copy patterns from just looking on the Internet, the specific problem as I understand it is that people are sharing photos on Pinterest that link back to a pattern for free that should be purchased if the person wants it. For example, let’s say that I buy a pattern I like and then copy it down and put it online and use a Pinterest image to link to my free version of it. So Pinterest doesn’t cause the problem but people sharing these types of things on it can speed up the process of the problem, taking money away from the crochet designer in some cases. That said, I think you’ve hit on the same thing that @imacupcake was saying which is that people are going to do these bad things anyway so it’s not the fault of the site itself. And I would say that it tends to play a really small role in what happens on sites like this. In general I think that the user community helps to moderate these things out and that the ability to do so will only grow with time. (In the same way, for example, that we get spam on Twitter but we can block it and report it to put some end to it.)

      Like your daughter, I enjoy being able to clear up my bookmarks on my computer and use sites like Pinterest instead. I do post things from Etsy and hope that it spreads the word about what I like, rather than taking anything away from it.

  6. imacupcake Reply

    Absolutely love Pinterest. I agree that it can suck up a lot of time, but the inspiration that I get from it is worth it. Where else can you get a visual smorgasbord of anything your heart desires? I would’ve never come across the blogs and websites that I’ve found by clicking through my favorite images.

    It is kind of strange to me though that it’s dubbed as a social networking site because, to me, social networking is interactive. Ironically because it’s not so interactive, I don’t feel pressured to monitor, or keep up with it.

    I can see where copyright issues and copycats can be a concern, but I would think that those are already a problem with or without a consolidation of images. Maybe Pinterest makes life easier for those interested in deceptive behavior, but I wouldn’t say that it encourages that behavior.

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @imacupcake I generally agree with your statement that copyright problems happen anyway, with or without sites like this. In fact, I really think that the whole notion of how we handle copyright these days is changing a lot because of social networking sites, blogging etc. And I agree that Pinterest doesn’t encourage the behavior although it may make it easier for some people to share things that aren’t theirs and to claim them as their own. It’s a complicated issue but I think Pinterest and sites like it are (rightfully) here to stay so it’s more about finding ways to solve those problems when they arise than getting down on the sites for them.

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