> ~ Insights by SewCalGal ~

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pinterest for Quilting, Sewing & Embroidery Enthusiasts

Over the past few months, I've been researching Pinterest as a result of hearing various concerns about Copyright and other issues from a number of people and sources.  Today, I want to share with you what I've learned.  And, I'd love to hear your perspective too!  But, I do want to set the stage that this topic is complex.  While I'm already planning future posts on this topic, I do want to emphasize that  everyone ultimate needs to form their own opinion, but I hope you'll take into consideration some points that I'm sharing today.

I will confess I wasn't an early adopter of Pinterest, but I quickly found it to be a great resource and full of inspiration. When I started hearing concerns from others, about potential Copyright issues, I became nervous when I started reading various blog posts that shared concerns on Pinterest and that the respective bloggers were closing their Pinterest accounts.  I wondered if I might be supporting a tool that I shouldn't be.  And, I intentionally closed my boards until I could complete my own research and form my own opinion on Pinterest and the concerns by others.

My research gave me the opportunity to chat with various bloggers, designers, teachers, quilt shop owners, Copyright Lawyers, as well as resources at Pinterest.  I actually spent months researching this subject.  While I'm not an expert on Pinterest, nor am I a lawyer,  I'll also share with you my conclusion, but first, I want to start with the basics:

What is Pinterest?

SewCalGal likes to think of Pinterest as a version of your "Favorites" on steroids.  You can bookmark sites, by pinning a picture, but unlike your Favorites you can easily share your pins with others, as well as follow others that pin items that you might be interested in, along with search Pinterest.  You can also easily embed an image to your blog, from Pinterest, that will retain the link to the original source.

How to use Pinterest:

First, visit www.pinterest.com and request an invite to join. But, new account users actually get accounts much faster by asking a friend, with an existing Pinterest account, to invite them.

For Followers of SewCalGal, email me and I'll gladly send you an invite to join Pinterest.

Once you have an Pinterest account, you simply click the login button.  Pinterest will allow you to login using your Facebook Account, Twitter Account, or your own email address.  To clarify, it is not a requirement to have a Facebook or Twitter Account to have a Pinterest account!

Update to original post:  The original invite to Pinterest that allows you to create an account does require you to have a Facebook or Twitter Account, but you can unlink your Pinterest account to Facebook/Twitter anytime after you have initialized your Account.  And, once your account is created you can log in to Pinterest with your email vs using Facebook or Twitter to log in.

Images can be organized in boards (e.g. Free-Motion Quilting, Cooking, Gardening, Travel, etc.), comments can be added to any pin. Boards can be followed
Here is a very good and short video introduction on Pinterest, by Samantha Zinth.

Why use Pinterest?

For quilting, sewing & embroidery enthusiasts:

Pinterest is a virtual way to bookmark and and share beautiful things you find on the web.  Think of it as an online "pinboard" that you can organize, yet have an easy way to get back to the source for more information.  Just like searching the internet, you can search by quilting technique, designer, product, style and quickly find beautiful images that will frequently inspire you.  Plus, you can click on the image and easily get to the original source.  That link may lead you to a tutorial on a blog, or where you can purchase a book or pattern, but always where you can learn more info about what caught your attention.

As I love Hawaiian quilts, I've been delighted to use Pinterest to help me connect with other quilters that also share this interest.  Difficult to describe, have a chance to experience this, but this type of connection just doesn't happen easily thru Facebook, Twitter, or typical internet searches.

For those in the business:

Pinterest allows more people to see your work and benefit from having a direct link to your site than any other social media tool can offer!  And, many businesses are seeing a more rapid increase in online sales coming to their site from Pinterest, than from Facebook, or other sources.

Pinterest is the "3rd most popular social media tool" with over 4 million unique visitors per day! Pretty amazing given Pinterest is just 2.5 years old! It drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. One success story is from the retail deal site ideeli.com has seen a 446 percent increase in web traffic from pinterest, over a six month period and this is not a unique situation for businesses benefiting from Pinterest. Pretty impressive for such a new tool!
While Pinterest is a fun social media tool, businesses can benefit from being active on Pinterest in many ways, as well as encouraging their customers to pin their products!  For example, a business can create boards with their products that contain a direct link to where a customer could order it.  And, you also have the option to select people that can pin to your boards too!  Those pins may be from your site, blogs, stores, etc. 

The beautiful quilt shown above is a great example of a pin that I spotted when Pat Wys shared this beautiful quilt on Pinterest.  The link takes you to the Martingale online store for the book that shares this beautiful quilt design ("English Paper Piecing - Fresh New Quilts from Bloom Creek", by Vicki Bellino.

Branddignity reported that social media driven purchases will soon be ~40% driven by Pinterest and Facebook, currently accounting for 82% of these purchases will have fallen to ~60%.  Thus, showing another sign that if a business isn't using Pinterest now, they really should consider it soon!

Anyone on Pinterest can also "re-Pin" an image to one of their boards, increasing the visibility of an image on Pinterest and links to the original source follow that pin activity within Pinterest. 

It is easy to search Pinterest and click on the image to go to the site that was pinned!  Potential customers that surf Pinterest, or follow someone that pins an image to your site, will have a higher chance of being aware of your products!  And, when "properly pinned" those potential customers will have an easy way to place an order to your site by clicking on that pinned image, to get to a link with more info on your site.
To clarify, there is no guarantee for a business that uses Pinterest that they'll see an increase in sales.  But, using Pinterest properly, there are many success stories to show that it does help sales.  And, it helps customers shop more effectively so it becomes a win-win situation!

What Do Quilters think About Pinterest?

Here is a summary of feedback that I heard from followers, Facebook and other sources about Pinterest:

  • very visual; lots of info; inspirational photos
  • Virtual post-it note board
  • like another search engine tool, but for topics you are interested in (you just follow boards with subjects you are interested in).
  • wonderful Marketing tool
  • Ease of use to bookmark things that I'm interested in; Better than FAVORITES.
  • Great for sharing recipes, project ideas, inspiration.
  •  Pinterest can be a great tool. I'm watermarking my photos.
  • I also love the recipes that people share!
  • I love Pinterest because I can "dock" ideas that I come across instead of emailing myself links that jam up my inbox. I am careful not to pin anything that I can't source directly, and I always try to give the blog name in my comments so credit is given where credit is due. 
  • I  like blogs with the buttons because it makes it easier for me to determine whether or not the blogger minds pictures/tutorials being pinned as I hate to violate written or unwritten rules from the bloggers themselves. If there is any question at all, I don't pin. But, I do feel disappointed with this because I will often bookmark it and then it gets "lost" among tons of bookmarks.
  •  I  use Pinterest  to help me keep track of inspirations and want-to-do wish lists.  
  •  I just use Pinterest as a virtual post-it note board. It's convenient because I can just go to Pinterest and find the source instead of trying to search through tons of bookmarks (which I still do).
  • I don't understand it and whenever I request an invite to join, which I've done several times, I never get a reply
  • I can't and won't join in because only Facebook people are "allowed." I don't want to join Facebook, so I'm not on Pinterest.
  • I don't like finding out that photos from my blog are on Pinterest and I didn't give permission
  • Designers that have photos pinned that do not give them credit:
  •  The process of a pin does capture a link to the Designers site.
  • Fear of a site you may pin may change its policy about pinning, thus you create a copyright issue.
  • Perception of Pinterest’s policy that they could do anything with, including make a profit, from photos pinned.
  • I don't use Pinterest. I am quite happy with all facebook has to offer. There has just been too much chatter about copyright issues and too much opportunity for problems. I don't see the point. If you want to share a pic or a tutorial, we are friends, then share it. Why do we need another means of doing so. When you hit share of facebook credit is given.
  • terms of use...allowing them to retain and use photos pinned that irked me
  • Don’t have the time  
  • you don't get informed as "picture owner" that you have been pinned 
  • can't block followers 
  •  I don't think Pinterest is fair to the actual owners of the photos
  • I have a lot of concerns about copyrgith issues with Pinterest and having my ideas stolen.  I have chosen not to use it.

Pinterest etiquette:

Pinterest etiquette also dictates that users properly attribute pins: “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.

SewCalGal recommends that  quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiast that use Pinterest:
  •  take time to recognize the designer and/or business in the comments section, when you pin.
  • When you re-pin, always check the pin to make sure it is still active and links to the original source.If the original pin doesn't recognize the designer, consider adding it.
  • Most pins to blogs and sites will always carry info on the source with the pin.  Use caution on pins/repins from generic sites such as google, as these images do not provide links back to the original source, nor recognize the designer/creator.
  • When pinnning something from a blog, be sure you have clicked on the blog post header, so that the URL shows the link to the specific post and not the blog. 
  • Embrace Pin etiquette with a passion to help support and recognize those in the quilting, sewing and embroidery business.  Be sure your pins give them recognition, as appropriate.
  • Delete pins/don't pin where you can't trace back to the creator
  • where possible, include the designers name/pattern info in the comment section of your pin.
  • when manually uploading an image to Pinterest, be sure you own the image, or have permission to do so from the owner and give them appropriate credit.

For items that may be inappopriate for posting on the internet, or have copyright issues, any Pinterest user can report a pin. Daily, the Pinterest team reviews such reports and pulls inappropriate pins from their site. Be sure you read and understand the Terms & Conditions, as well as Acceptable Use Policy which has been updated recently.

SewCalGal's Perspective on Pinterest:

I categorize the majority of concerns that people have about Pinterest as follows:
  1. Wording of Pinterest's original terms & conditions
  2. Fear of Copyright Issues
  3. Rumors, perceptions, and general understanding

Original terms & conditions stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right to sell your content.  Selling content was never the intent of Pinterest and they officially changed their terms and conditions early April.

Copyright issues are a concern to most everyone in the quilting, sewing and/or embroidery business.  As we live in a virtual world, those in the business also need to find ways to increase awareness of their products.  While many image sharing tools, including Google/Images, have issues with Copyright, Pinterest has taken several actions in this area that actually goes above and beyond what Google/Images or other utilities offer.  First, Pinterested updated their Terms & Condition. Pinterest  also updated their Copyright Policy .  And, they have made it easy for anyone in the community to "report" a pin that may have a copyright issue.  A report of such pins is reviewed by resources at Pinterest daily, and, as appropriate, pins with copyright issues are removed from Pinterest.

SewCalGal believes that our quilting, sewing & embroidery community, like any community on Pinterest, needs to have good pin ettiquette and take time to recognize the designer/creator of any design that you may pin or repin.  Let's be sure credit is visible and given when due.  And, if you see a pin that is questionable report it to the pinner or the Pinterest team, as you feel appropriate.

Those in the business, as well as bloggers, should make sure that they use a watermark on their images.  They should also include a standard string that identifies them in that image (e.g. their name, business name, or blog name in the file name, as this will help.  Create a Google Alert with that standard string.  While not perfect, Google Alert will provide you a better chance of finding your images IF they are getting pinned, or used on blogs or other sites! 

Don't forget that many images on blogs and various websites are already on Google/Images and many other online sources.  And these sites don't provide the ability like pinterest to "like" or re-pin an image, not flag for removal if they have a copyright issue, but the images in these other sources do get used.  And, if the image has such a generic file name (e.g. camera setting) you'll probably never be able to find these images outside of finding them on Pinterest, if they are posted on a board you might follow.

Unlike Pinterest's Terms and Conditions, Google Usage rights are more vague and risky for bloggers, but on a positive side it does show" give credit to the image creator when reusing an image".  Seriously, take a look at Google images and you'll often see images that have been stolen or you can't find who the original author is.  So, don't get upset with Pinterest for Copyright matters as much as get upset with the thief that steals images, artwork, designs!   I'd much rather use a tool like Pinterest where I can easily report an image for Copyright, as well as voice my concern to the person that posted it (pin or repin).

Pins can be to almost any website that has images, but those sites that do not want to be pinned can add code that will lock their site from being pinned. Pinterest has provided code and instructions that will allow bloggers & webmasters to block their site from being pinned.

Still, any blogger or webmaster that does not want images on their site to be pinned can add some simple code to their site. Remember adding this code to the html code will disable pinning of ALL pages by Pinterest users who use the Pinterest bookmarkets to share your site.

Simply add the following code to your HEAD section in the site html.
<meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" />

So what happens when people using the Pin-It bookmarklet (the best way to use Pinterest) visit your site and wish to pin images which you do not wish to share. This pop up alert box is shown.’
Pinterest nopin
“This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”

SewCalGal's Conclusion:

Pinterest is a great tool for quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts to use.  I highly recommend it, but I do recommend that those that wish to use this tool embrace Pinterest etiquette and review current Pinterest Terms & Conditions.  "Our Community" needs to not be afraid of pinning an image on Pinterest, when properly pinned (e.g. link goes directly to the site and Pinterest tags the link accordingly), but my recommendation is to go a step further and be sure to include in the description insight on the designer/creator/source.  Those comments are searchable descriptions and it is best to give appropriate recognition to those in the business, as well as those that created the image vs just completely relying on the link provided by Pinterest. 

If you really don't want your site to be pinned, add the code to block pins and post a no-Pinterest image to make it clear to others you don't want to be pinned.  Of course, SewCalGal thinks anyone in the business is missing a great opportunity by not enabling their site to be pinned. 

Have fun with Pinterest as you'll find loads of inspiration, including excellent cooking recipes:

and inspirational insights on some really fun sewing, quilting & embroidery projects too!
Source: etsy.com via Shawna on Pinterest

Sources for more insights on Pinterest:
How to find the original source of an image (Graphics Fairy)
How to create a "pin it" button on your favorites bar (Pinterest)
Pinterest Support
Official Pinterest Blog

Ok, time to tell me what you think about Pinterest?


Anonymous said...

Fantastic Post! You have certainly given me a lot of information and plenty of food for thought. Thank you for taking the time to research this topic. I really appreciate all your hard work.

Fiona said...

This is great... a very comprehensive research and journalistic post... thanks... I love pinterest though I really use it for personal boards so I can find things easily... but I also search when I want a bit of inspiration... my only problem is that I get lost with time (ooops) A few people have been very angry about being pinned but do not put the code on. Thanks again - I'm going to pin this post!!

May Britt said...

Thank you for making this post. I am not a user of pinterest, but I often fin a lot of inspiration looking through it. Think I am going to blog about your blogpost :)

Julimond said...

I wish, there would be a good translation into german, because i am one of the "have fear" of pinterest. And i can understand less than half in english. So sadly.

Maybe in future there will be a good translation of your posting, i hope with your permission, because Google Translator is so bad.


Iris, no facebook user and no pinterest user, no twitter user

The Calico Cat said...

Can I go to your pinterest & see what you pinned? (Anyone elses?)

Dana Gaffney said...

Good post! When I started with pinterest, I really didn't use it, then the whole copyright thing started and I pretty much removed everything. Now I'm back and loving it, although a rather harsh statement from a fellow blogger makes me very hesitant to pin, so I pretty much re-pin after making sure the link works. Personally I love finding anything of mine pinned, but it is difficult to find them. I'm going to investigate the Google alerts, thank for that.

corkcat said...

Excellent post. Yes there are copyright issues but I don't think that should stop thoughtful and careful people from using Pinterest. I use it to track future possible quilts and tutorials. I try to always credit properly - etiquette but also so I can find the original myself. You forgot to mention the hazard of how much time you can lose by spending time looking through pins. Very absorbing and inspiring.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

great post - I find I am just not interested in one more thing to do with the computer and I do not use it. At first it bothered me that others pin my stuff then I just thought who cares. One day maybe I will get into it but I fine the computer takes up enough of my time already and I don't really want it to take up any more of my time. I am at the stage with the computer when I feel that being on the computer/phone/ipad you name it is starting to take over people's lives and we need to back away and interact with people more - face to face then on the computer.

Kelly said...

I was an early pinterest user and love the visual format. I don't use it as much anymore, because I just do not have the time. It is pretty and the info is good, but I think it is hard to sift through.

Debbie said...

Well written, Darlene. Can tell you put a lot of effort into it. Got one question. You wrote "To clarify, it is not a requirement to have a Facebook or Twitter Account to have a Pinterest account!" So, I'd like to know how!??! I can't see where it can be done any other way.

Vicki said...

Thanks Darlene for a great post. I love the whole concept of Pinterest but their original copyright policy was not good so I stayed away and even blocked my blog from being pinned. I'm so glad that they decided to take the copyright policy more seriously as a provider of this service. Yes you will still have users who disregard this but that will happen no matter what people use.

paulette said...

EXCELLENT Post!! Thanks for doing this, Darlene!!!

Calicojoan said...

I love Pinterest, and use it personally just for inspiration. I download tons of patterns (which I won't live long enough to do), but can't tell what they are when they are in a PDF format. With Pinterest I can see what things are, which was a huge plus for me. I don't share copywritten things, I don't profit from things, and I would like to think the rest of the world is the same, but sadly it's not. I will continue to use it, for my personal use. Thanks for the info. I look forward to more on the subject!

Jean(ie) said...

I had an account but deleted it. I was spending way too much time on the site pinning stuff I'll never get to do. LOL!

I still go on the site to browse as an "outsider", but not so often.

I see the site's value as an online bookmark repository.

Teresa in Music City said...

Thank you so much for such a concise and well researched review of Pinterest! Finally, a review without all the "Wolf!" alarms. I feel they have been very proactive in addressing the concerns about copyright. Clearly there are a variety of ways to protect ourselves and still be able to enjoy the fun and relationships available through this new site. I love Pinterest and have found it very useful - recipes and tutorials, not to mention quite a few laughs!

Wacky Woman said...

I'm a big fan of Pinterest. Thanks for the informative post.

Ramona said...

Great post.
I love Pinterist because it allows me to pin projects I admire and may want to do in the future, or just for inspiration. It is very helpful to see many of the tips you've provided here. I definitely want to pin responsibly.

Miss Hillbilly said...

I had an account. Got rid of it in all the hype, then went to make a new one and found out my old one was still there. That made me happy :)

heartsease54 said...

I basically use it to keep track of things that inspire, amuse, and entertain me. I haven't ever searched it for anything. I only follow a select few people. Mostly I consider it my own personal online bulletin board.

The Quilted Dog said...

Thanks so much for putting all this information in one place. I really didn't understand what Pinterest was. It appears like a great tool and something I will enjoy using.

Thanks again!

Barb said...

You never cease to amaze me, the amount of work that went into this post is out of this world. You have covered so much and so well.

I love pinterest only for my own use, patterns that I want to make at a later date, food that looks yummy etc....

Mary said...

Thank you for a great post. I use it for my own reference. It is a great way to remember ideas I might want to explore more in future.

cityquilter grace said...

ooohh, i love those hawaiian quilts too; that red/white is sooo gorgeous. mine is orange flame batik on white, breadfruit pattern, not done of course, but love working on it...

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Wow...that is an excellent post about Pinterest! Thanks for all your research....I need you to be the one to research all my questions...you are the master!!!


Rebecca Grace said...

This is a wonderful and very timely post! I stumbled across an image of a beautiful quilt on Pinterest, and clicked back to the source, which turned out to be a professional longarm quilter's blog and web site. I am currently working on my free motion quilting skills, but someday if/when I make a Queen or King bed quilt I will be looking for a longarm quilter to finish it for me. I saw so many examples of breathtaking quilting on this person's site that I would hire her in a heartbeat, but I was disappointed that I could not pin any more of her quilts to my Pinterest file. She must have added that code to her page after the image I found had already been pinned. Anyway, it is her right not to allow her images on Pinterest, but I agree with you -- she's missing out on a lot of potential business by opting out of Pinterest completely.

FIONA said...

Thanks so much for such an informative article ... I too have scratched my head about Pinterest ... but now I'm a little wiser .. thanks to you!

Lucky Duck Dreams said...

Pinterest saved me! and my printer! And is a great tool for planning your sisters wedding! Did you know you can add pinners to a board? My mom sister and I all pin to one board wedding ideas. Its awesome!

Ivory Spring said...

Thank you for the thorough research, Darlene. You are the BEST!

Conry Lavis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Snoodles said...

Darlene, you are the research-meister! Thank you for all of this information....I'm actually going to come back here and re-read it, and decide if I want to join. Thanks again!

Sam said...

Thanks for sharing the link to my video tutorial! Glad you found it helpful. Happy pinning!