The website touts itself as a "virtual pinboard". A place to store all the visual things that make your heart sing. Art, fashion, design...whatever floats your boat.
When I first discovered Pinterest I looked around and left, not understanding exactly what was bothering to figure out what was happening. The next few times around, I discovered a place that was filled with amazing visual images. I still didn't quite get it but it became obvious that the object was to pin everything in sight.
In the process of pinning, I discovered artists that I would never have come across otherwise. I found some really good recipes that I've actually tried to make (somewhat successfully) and I have learned that I don't have to save bookmarks on Firefox anymore...at least not for art. I'll just pin them instead.
Pinterest just makes sense and appeals to the visual side of my personality (which is about 95% of me). I'd much rather pin a photo of something awesome than just a click the little bookmark star and have the amazing thing get lost in a sea of boring bookmark descriptions on my computer.
Getting used to Pinterest is a little tricky, especially since it is different from everything else out there but it's easy to grasp once you dive in and try it out.
|Example of my Pinterest boards|
Since Pinterest is fairly new to most people and still not as well known as some of the other social websites like Flickr, Tumblr or StumbleUpon, it has generated some concern from artists trying to enforce copyright on their artwork.
Once a user installs the "Pin It" bookmarklet on their browser toolbar, he/she can pin almost any image that is on the web. There are some exceptions, like photos from Facebook profiles, and some websites that use Flash or slideshows to showcase artwork but generally anything and everything is pinnable.
Obviously, the designers of Pinterest must have anticipated some irritation from people who don't want their images pinned so the website has designated some rules of etiquette. Generally speaking the rules state that you should credit the source of the image/artwork and try to link to the originating website.
Here's an example of a pin. I did some quick research to find out who the designer was on this piece of jewelry and then repinned it. The link under the photo is linking to a Tumblr blog where the image was found. The links don't always go to the source of the image or originating website of the artist but it helps if you want to track the artist or designer down.
FYI: Images that have been pinned from Tumblr most often lead to purgatory. There are usually no sources named and the image has been reblogged by millions of teenagers at least 100 times over.
On the heels of SOPA, maintaining control over images and content has become a hot issue. (When isn't it artists?)
Recently Pinterest has come under scrutiny on CMA, a members only forum for mosaic artists.
The website hosts a photo pool filled with over 25,000 images of members' mosaic creations and the concern is that the images would be pinned from the photo pool without the permission of the artists. Pinners who attempted to follow the link included with the pin would be led to a sign in page which they would be unable to access.
A website wide policy in regard to Pinterest was enacted to educate members about pinning images on the private website stating that "images should be pinned from the artist's website, not directly from the CMA photo pool, and that permission should be granted from the artist before pinning."
Personally, I probably won't go so far as to ask an artist permission before pinning their artwork, from CMA or anywhere else. However, I will credit the artist and link directly to their website. After all, I'm an artist too and I understand the copyright issue and respect any maker's rights to their creations. If an artist or photographer is still uncomfortable with their artwork being shared, I'd remove the pin.
Stay tuned for a post on Pinterest Tips and Tricks!