Monday, February 20, 2012

Pinterest: A Great Visual Blogging Tool for Artists & Illustrators

A selection of my Pinterest boards (http://pinterest.com/sylliu)


What is Pinterest? If you're a woman between 25 and 35, you know because you and all your friends are on it. (Interestingly, while women make up 80% of Pinterest users in the U.S., they are less than half of U.K. users). Pinterest is one of the fastest growing and most popular social media sites, generating more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube, and Linked In combined, Mashable reports.



How does Pinterest work?


Pinterest describes itself as a virtual billboard to "organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web." On Pinterest, you can create virtual bulletin boards and "pin" images you find on the web. Pinterest suggest boards like "Art I Like," "Favorite Places," and "Books Worth Reading," and the general vibe tends towards design, fashion, recipes, photography, and arts/crafts. But you can create any topic that lends itself to visuals. The social part comes in when you follow other users and "re-pin" or "like" images you find.


The original pinned image is always linked to the website on which the image resides, so you can go back to the original page if you are intrigued by the photo. Pinterest provides a handy bookmark for your browser tool bar so you can pin most images you see while surfing the web.  


Pinterest is a Great Visual Blogging Tool


It turns out Pinterest is a great visual blogging tool for artists and illustrators because:



1. You can indulge your inner curator.


In an internet awash with content, people increasingly turn to those they trust to help curate content. Bloggers often fulfill this function when they review products, books, apps, or movies. For example, if you're a blogger who reviews children's books, you could create a Pinterest board rounding up the best picture books of the year. Or you could create boards for specific categories, like my blog post, Pirate Picture Books. If you're a blogging artist or illustrator, you can show readers your sources of inspiration or highlight other artists and illustrators you like. For example, I've been very interested in octopi recently, and have an Octopus Art board:



Pinterest octopus art

The blog, The Well Read Wife, lists book bloggers who are on Pinterest.


2. You can indulge your inner packrat and mine the boards for inspiration.


Have you ever cut pictures from magazines and pinned them to a (real) bulletin board? Clipped recipes and stuffed them into an overflowing binder? Created an inspiration folder for a kitchen makeover? Pinterest satisfies this organizing urge and lets you catalogue your visual ideas. 


I have written about favoriting Tweets as a way to bookmark interesting content for future blogging, and the same concept applies for Pinterest. As you come across images that might help you develop a blog post, you can pin it to a board to have it in a handy place. 


3.  Pinterest is beautiful and visual in a way other blogging platforms aren't.


Although Pinterest can seem overwhelming at first, it is a powerful platform because of its visual impact. Tumblr is also an image-heavy blogging platform, but the photos are sequential and only show up in your feed if you're following someone. On Pinterest, you can take in at a glance a lot more visual information and then hone in on what interests you. 


4. Pinterest is viral in a way that Twitter, Facebook, and the rest can't match.


Pinterest is viral in a way that text-based social media sides can't match. Because everything is visually oriented, people are immediately drawn to a photo and will be more likely to click on it than a tweet that just says, "Check out this great photo of x." Because boards are categorized under general topics, like Art or Photography, any images you pin will be searchable under those categories. You also don't need to have followers for your pins to show up so you can reach a wider audience.


For example, my "pin" of Hello Kitty as Star Wars characters on to my Geeky Stuff board was almost instantaneously repinned 29 times:


A Cautionary Note


Because of the ease of re-pinning others' images, there is a growing concern about lack of attribution or copyright infringement. While blogging artists always have this concern, the viral reach of Pinterest makes it a bigger issue. Because an image is linked to the website it was found on, users should make every effort to link to the original owner of the image. 


The blog, Living Locurto, has an interesting article about attribution concerns as well as tips for artists and others to protect photos of their works. Some are even concerned that Pinterest's terms of service may lead to Napster-like lawsuits against unauthorized pinning. ReadWriteWeb reports that in response to some of these concerns, Pinterest has offered image owners code that will result in a message that the visited website does not allow pinning.


Stop by Pinterest and Decide for Yourself


Anyone can visit Pinterest to view the boards, but you need to join to pin images. Pinterest is by invitation only, but you can request one from the site, or ask a friend to invite you. Come on by and visit my Pinterest boards. If you need an invite, drop me a line.


What are some ways you have used Pinterest for blogging or inspiration?  


If you liked this post, you may also like:

14 comments:

  1. Hi Syliva, I just discovered Pinterest a couple of weeks ago. Though I haven't tried it yet myself. It looks like a nice way to showcase and share your interests with others. I'm wondering how much time you have to set aside to keep your pinboards current. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Blessy, I also started relatively recently. Other than initially putting together some boards, I haven't spent too much time dedicated to Pinterest yet. I have found the "Pin It" button very useful. When I'm visiting websites in the course of the day and see something I like, I'll pin it to one of my boards.

      Delete
  2. I love, love, love pinterest! I look for a lot of art inspiration but mostly I have using it for recipes and remodeling ideas. It's so easy to pin recipes and be able to easily refer back to them when shopping for ingredients. I take my iPad in the kitchen with me and am able to follow the recipe that way. And keeping remodeling ideas in one highly visual place to show an architect or contractor is genius.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great idea, to bring the iPad right into the kitchen with the recipes. I had noticed a lot of pinned recipes, but thought it was just a cataloguing function.

      Delete
  3. I'm curious how the copyright issues is going to play out. I just joined about two weeks ago and I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Sylvia,
    Love your blog. I gave it a Liebster (maybe you've read about this on the 12X12 challenge page?). You can get the details on my blog. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thanks! I will post my Liebster post someday...

      Delete
  5. I think Pinterest, even though it is relatively new, it is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog. People seem more willing to click "pin" then to "retweet", "like", or "+1". I love your post - very thoughtful and organized. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like the idea of Pinterest and I've checked it out--a little. Even though it seems great and full of possiblities, I'm hesitating on jumping in. I'm worried about spending too much time on there.

    Thanks for explaining it so clearly, Sylvia. You've saved me some time trying to figure it out!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post! I just started using pinterest for my book review blog. I haven't been using it much as I am afraid it might spend too much time on it. Lately I have been using it to "save" links to my favorite blog posts on kidlit writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does seem that one of the great uses of Pinterest is to bookmark and file good websites and posts.

      Delete
  8. Sylvia, this is a GREAT post and I am going to tweet it and share on my Facebook page.

    I JUST joined and so am in the "I'm overwhelmed" phase. I'm finding it's taking too much time for me to get up to speed. Maybe I just don't understand how to search yet.

    For example, a character in one of my PBs has red hair, so I typed red haired girl into search but it came up with nothing (and made me feel a bit icky, as if I was a pedophile or something). But I know writers use Pinterest for character and setting inspiration, so I'll probably keep going back little bits at a time to see how it works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Julie! I appreciate it. By the way, I just went to Pinterest and "red hair" and "red hair girl" come up with a lot of images. I guess most people are not sticklers for grammar.

      Delete
  9. I'm not sure what I think of Pinterest. But I can tell you I got lost for one long weekend pinning and pinning. Oh my goodness so many wonders in the world. I do use my very handy pin button a bit! Lots of cool stuff, if you want to see: http://pinterest.com/cindyda/

    ReplyDelete

Join the discussion...