Pinterest: screen shot, search for "flaneur" See also HERE
Pinterest. Who isn't talking, blogging, face booking about it? Curators, editors, bloggers, students, designers and all kinds of businesses are in on the newest social media hit. As are oh so many folks, mostly women, for whom Pinterest is their newest hobby/obsession. For those of us for whom a picture is worth a dozen words, Pinterest is a dream come true.
The dream can sometimes be a nightmare, and there have been articles cirulating on the web about the dangers and pitfalls of Pinterest in terms of ownership of images, copyright, theft and the like. You can check some of them out here and here. This is not about that, however.
I've noticed that there are roughly two types of pinners. The serious image collectors, and the casual "this is my life" type. The serious ones interest me. The others less so, although I admit to reading through hundreds of recipes and household tips and it's true that for practical matters, Pinterest can be a wonderful resource. People who post about how they want to color their fingernails, or the hairstyles they crave, or who post images for their upcoming nuptuals can expect me to give them a pass in a hurry. I understand that they want to keep a log, and I support them using Pinterest for that, but I really don't care.
If Pinterest were only good for sharing household and cooking tips, it would be good enough. But it is so much more. For serious image collectors and curators it is a g*dsend. Because it is so easy, and because all the images can be sorted and resorted, each board becomes like a section in the library of your imagination. Interested in a topic and need a place to store your images in a way that is easily accessible and easy to rearrange? Yes. Pinterest. Want to see what others are collecting in the same idea range? Yes. Pinterest. Need to show something to a client, a friend, or a reader? Yes. Pinterest. Easier to access than a website or a blog? Yes, Pinterest is easier even than Flickr or other photo sharing sites. Which is why so many people find it addictive.
Some of my favortite boards to follow are the very specific ones. I follow one woman, a seeming clothing historian, whose 104 boards include: "Doublet" "Robe a la Polonase" "Bretagene-Pays Bigouden." See her pins here. (linked with permission)
Another of my favorites is from a real-time friend, a museum director, whose gorgeous and insightful boards include "little structures" "text/image" and "cloth." I can spot her pins even in thumbnails they are so gorgeous and unusual.
With a curators like these two, and with the other visually knowledgeable and talented pinners, we are taken almost directly into their deepest imaginations. As with any well curated space, virtual or tangible, there is always something fresh and exciting to learn, something to stimulate the mind and the senses.
Unlike bricks and mortar musuems, galleries or shops - bounded by space and time and budget - the speed and ease of curating images online allows for an almost endless supply of visual and historical information. Interaction is not only possible, but encouraged. Linking - both within Pinterest and to the original sources - leads to an endless supply of visual material. The structure of Piterest invites and facilitates random meandering as well as purposful searches, making Pinterest heaven for the virtual flaneur.
Some Pinterest guidelines:
1) Always credit your sources. This is the number one problem with amateur pinners or those who do not respect visual /intellectual property. I try to end each pin description with "source" and a hyperlink to the blog, website or source where I found it. Just copy the url and paste it in, pinterst will automatically shorten it.
This should be mandatory, but it's not. Make it your priority! Even though clicking the image should take you to the source from which the image was pinned, this is not enough, particularly because not everyone gives credit to begin with. Tumblr blogs are notorious for leaving off credit (though many Tumbr bloggers are scrupulous) because it is so easy to reblog other people's images. Ditto Flickr. Do your homework. Find the original source and give credit where credit is due: right on your pin.
2) Do not remove credit and sources when you repin. I find this happens a lot. I have carefully credited my sources but when the image is repinned (you will get an email that something has been repinned) I find the source gone. I always leave a comment, with credit, and a reminder to include the credit. Sometimes people will thank me, usually they ingore me. This drives me nuts!
3) If the source you are pinning from doesn not have credit information, either do an image search to find the credit, or Do Not Pin. Do not pin any image you do not know the source for.
4) Tip: when you find something you want to pin, you can highlight any part of the text you want to include - credit, information, descriptions- and copy it. That information will automatically be included in your pinterest description if you use the Pin It button.
4) If you are pinning your own work, take the time to put in a watermark or sign it in some way. I didn't do this for the first five years I hosted this blog - I didn't think it was necessary - but now I find that folks have pinned images from SeeSaw without artist credit. I keep finding repins of pictures I made and also, and this really bugs me, pictures by artists whose work I showed in my gallery, Pine Street Art Works. I notify the pinners as soon as I find out, but sometimes things get repinned really fast.
5) If you have a website or blog and want to see who is pinning from your site you can do this:
http://www.pinterest.com/source/YOURSITE.com/ (don't use "www" for your site, just the name.com. - or org or edu)
6) And here are some more articles on Pinterest:
Here from Average Jane Crafter, 4 Tips for Happy Pinning.
From Alexandra Wrote at Blog-Her, My Thoughts on Pinterest's New Terms, HERE
Pinterest and the Intellectual Property Conundrum by Alexandra Bolt also at Blog Her Here
You can find my Pinterest boards HERE