Pinterest Etiquette

Did you know there’s a whole page devoted to how to be a courteous Pinner? No? Pinterest is an amazing tool, but like all tools, it can be used poorly. People can be rude, and sometimes even downright mean when it comes to Pinning. Here’s their list of guidelines, and how it can impact the blogger/webmaster you’re pinning from:

1) Be Nice
Pinterest is a community of people. We know that tastes are personal, but be respectful in your comments and conversations.

Bloggers check their traffic. And they can check Pinterest to see what people are pinning that are driving them to their sites. So, color me crazy when I see Pins with rude comments below outlining what they hate about the image before they finally toss out the one thing they liked. Take my blue barn door, for example. Blue is a very polarizing color. I get that. But when I saw Pins saying, “That blue is hideous, but I like the door” I don’t really know what to think. Or saying, “This isn’t really clever, I just should have thought of this sooner!” about my painted washer and dryer. It’s the backhanded insults like these that really bug me. Bloggers, especially ones who get paid, monitor their traffic. I never in a million years thought I would jump from 500 hits a day to nearly 7,000 when I posted my appliance makeover. I was just sitting around, dreaming up how I could gussy up the most boring room in the house, and the idea of painting them hit me. Not many people had attempted it, and I found next to nothing on tips or photos. So, I was the “first” to post it. And I learned some lessons in the process, which I shared with you. No need to go on bashing and being callous. Pinterest is supposed to be a source of inspiration. I’m amending the adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t post a picture and then point out the fifteen things you don’t like about it.” Just post the damn picture and keep in mind the things you do love. Because that blogger will then check their url on Pinterest, and see all the nasty, flippant things you say about their stuff. And that’s just not the spirit of Pinning.

2) Credit Your Sources
Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry.

Better people than I have covered properly Pinning from the correct source. Try not to get sucked in to the Apartment Therapy or Curbly time-warp. I’m totally guilty of this. If you can, please follow your inspiration through to the original post, and Pin from there, so people following you who want to replicate the project can easily find the source. Oh, and so the source can be properly credited. House of Hepworths had this happen to them, and that really does suck.

3)Avoid Self Promotion
Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you

16 thoughts on “Pinterest Etiquette

  1. That’s horrible! I think it’s usually people who don’t read or comment on blogs regularly who do that. My sister-in-law wrote on one of her pins of a pumpkin smoothie that she made, “yuck, i did not like this at all”. I cringed when I read that!

    1. Oh no! That’s awful. I think people forget that it’s not just about “you” when you’re Pinning. It’s about the people who had that idea and posted about it, too. I don’t normally get my panties in a twist about it, but sometimes people are just really asinine in what they comment. What’s the purpose of that? Why can’t you just be thoughtful? And of course the “you” is hypothetical 😉 You sound like a great Pinner!

  2. This was an interesting post to read. On one hand, yes, I agree that the example pin you posted was rude. On the other hand, one of my Pinterest folders is there simply to keep track of projects I want to try. I sometimes make notes about changes I would make to suit our house/lifestyle/family (hopefully I never sound that rude, though!). It’s almost like a different focus – like, do you pin primarily to keep track of things for yourself or to share things with other users?

    1. I Pin for both, to keep track of things I’d love to do, and sometimes to share with others. I think there’s a balance to how you would note changes. Take, for example, my barn door. It’s blue, which is a really polarizing color. A lot of people pinned stuff like, “Hate the blue, love the door”, while others said, “Love this door, would do it in another color.” The first? Rude. The second? Perfect! It’s a great example of how to express what you’d change, without being critical of the project you’re pinning. And while I’m totally not afraid of constructive criticism, I don’t really care to hear a bunch of negativity on a Pin, whether it’s my project or not. People take a lot of time and effort to not only do the projects, but to post them online. The least people can do is be respectful when commenting. I remember reading one comment someone made on a Pin of a bedroom. She listed five things she “hated” before the one thing she liked that made her pin the picture. Who cares if you hate the lamps, or duvet, or paint colors? Just comment about what you like so you remember why you pinned it in the first place. No reason to poo all over someone’s room. But that’s just me.

  3. I look forward to your posts every day! Keep up the GOOD WORK Brooke – you’ve been one of my faves since your weddingbee days! Some people are just inconsiderate.

  4. This was my pin. And I have to say that I had NO intention of being mean or hurtful. And I’m sorry! My little “notes” under the pin are meant for me to refer to later because there is no way that I’ll be able to remember everything that I’m thinking for every pin that I “create”, so I just jot whatever comes to mind. Until someone commented on my pin telling me that it was hurtful, I hadn’t even thought about or reread what I’d written.
    Like you said, I obviously found it inspiring enough to pin. And I was by no means trying to be “flippant” or make you “hear [my] crap about it.” I was telling myself what to do before I attempt this.
    I really want to apologize. I had NO malicious intent. It was just thoughtless typing about a project that got me excited about possibly painting my washer/dryer. I’ll change the notes under my pin.

    1. Yikes! I was trying to take an “anonymous” Pin, from something older, but Pinterest wasn’t loading properly and I had to choose a newer one. I didn’t want to call anyone out specifically, which is why I cut out the username. I don’t want you to feel like you had to “out” yourself, I just used it as an example of how people don’t necessarily know that their comments can be seen.

      I really, really appreciate this comment. If it makes any sense, I’m glad it’s from someone I “know” online, because it seems more honest and less careless. I think we’re all guilty of doing something like this at one time or another. And being a big enough person to admit that you were “wrong” speaks so highly of your character. I don’t think that everything has to be sugar-coated, I just think we should make more of an effort to be respectful of each other’s work. I know I’m going to make that a priority in my own life, and I’m so glad you’re doing it too!

      I honestly hope I didn’t offend you. Again, I wasn’t trying to call one specific person out, I was trying to make the point that we all forget that our comments can be seen, and can get sloppy with what we say. Thank you again for letting me know, I really appreciate you as a reader!

  5. Honestly, I disagree. I like when people comment on things honestly, whether its on a blog or Pinterest. Although I’m sure there are some examples of true negativity – I want to know if someone tried a recipe and didn’t like it or if they did! I don’t want to see someone writing “terrible idea, what a doofus” of course – but I think casual chatter and feedback is a good thing and easier on Pinterest than commenting on a blog post which takes more effort.

    1. I get where you’re coming from, and that’s basically what I’m trying to say. There are ways to phrase things considerately, so you’re not being rude. One good example I saw recently was for a concrete floor. The comment was “Love the stain, but I would dial down the sheen in my house.” It wasn’t “The color is nice, but it’s so shiny my eyes burn!” You know? That’s not my best example, but it’s all I can come up with at the moment. Chatter and feedback is great, especially constructive criticism. If someone leaves a comment for how to minimize brush strokes when painting, I would love that! I just can’t stand it when people leave remarks like, “Ugh! Hate that comforter! But the table is cool.” What’s the point of that? Why can’t you just say the table is cool, since that’s why you’re pinning it anyway?

  6. I agree with Steph, but would like to say that there is a difference between commenting on someone’s pin and repinning with your own caption. When commenting on someone’s pin, I believe you should keep in mind that you are speaking directly to that person and all of their followers. When repinning on your own board, I think one can be more liberal and honest with the caption on your own curated boards. That in mind, I try and be very cautious when commenting/captioning on someone else’s original work/design vice a commercially mass produced product.

    1. Well, also keep in mind that the webmaster can see what you’ve pinned from their site. If you have a site you enjoy, say, you can do and see everything pinned from that website. Also, you can see traffic coming in, and see what pins are directing people to your site. So, the captions are easily seen by the people doing the projects, if that makes sense. People work hard to create that content, and take the time to put it out there to help others and inspire. I think it’s good to be honest, yet still respectful. You know?

      1. My point was rather the individual design/project type of pins vice the pins of commercially produced things that people just happen to pin on their boards. I totally understand if you make a living or have some vested interest off your pin controlling to some degree what is said. What I take issue with is people feeling they can have a say how/what people repin of theirs if it is a commercially made item (e.g. a dress from J.Crew, some shoes from Louboutian, etc). It IS an open pinboard after all. If you can’t handle people repinning with their own take on an item, perhaps pinterest isn’t for you until they allow boards to be private (I use “you” generally, not the blog author!).

        1. Ahhhhhh, got it! My original point was for small-time bloggers’ projects, but this is also really valid. Criticism in itself isn’t bad, in fact, it’s really helpful. It’s the pointless stuff, like “Ugh, that blanket is FUG! Love the dresser tho” that I just don’t get. But, to each his own. It’s a public forum, and you are definitely allowed to express your opinion. Art is subjective. Someone is bound to love a project while another can violently hate it!

          Thanks for the different point of view. I love comments like this that make me rethink my original position!

  7. Killer B, thank you for your post and for opening up this discussion. I think that one of the most compelling points of your post is the issue of protecting the content creator’s intellectual property and crediting the source. Not only is it more useful for Pinterest users to be able to easily get to the source of the idea, but more importantly, since ideas spread so quickly online, the creator could lose their claim as the source almost instantly if he/she is not proactive.

    My disagreement with your post has to do with the issue of criticism. I agree with Nicole that comments are often not meant as a criticism of the source but as a commentary about what is/is not relevant to the re-pinner. I am definitely not a fan of useless bashing (nobody wants to waste their time reading that!) but the reality of the internet is that anonymity can compel people to say things they wouldn’t say to someone’s face; people who publish their work online should not be surprised when this happens. And again, my guess is that it is typically not meant as a personal attack on the content creator. Essentially what I’m saying is that bloggers, pinners, artists, actors, singers – anyone who creates something and shares it with the world – should expect a whole spectrum of responses. If people are not prepared to take the harsh feedback with the good, they can choose to not share…

    1. Very true! I’ve noticed all too often that when I post a pin on my blog, people skip the 1 simple step of clicking on that pin so they can repin it properly on Pinterest. Often, they just pin my post of the pin, so it looks like it comes from my site! This really bugs me, because 1) that’s not my photo, so I don’t want it credited to me and 2) I would not want that to happen to me, so I hate it when it happens to someone else. I’ve decided that from now on I’m going to put a disclaimer beneath every pin I post, saying something like “Please DO NOT pin this image from my website. It is not mine. Please click on the image and repin it from Pinterest, using the proper source.”

      And as far as the harsh feedback, it’s not so much that I don’t think people (including me) can’t “handle” it, it’s that I don’t think it’s productive. Saying, “That crap is fugly!” doesn’t help anyone. Something like, “I don’t think those colors mesh well together” or “I feel decorating with animal products is offensive.” gets the point across more effectively. That’s ultimately what I’m trying to say in this post. You can even be harsh and honest about it if you want to (objective you here, not you personally), just be descriptive as to the hows and whys you don’t like it! That’s what I’m asking for.

  8. Right, I 100% agree that unproductive bashing is, well, unproductive – and I wish it didn’t happen! And harsh may have been the wrong word for me to use since harsh criticism, when substantive, can be the most useful. I guess what I’m saying is that I think useless comments are inevitable online, but since they are not well thought out and have little to offer, I wouldn’t give them the time of day! Thanks for your thoughts, lots of good things to think about here

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