Saturday, April 07, 2012

Nonsense about Pinterest & Twitter (a picture worth 140 characters?)

"Pinterest already a third as big as Twitter"... "Pinterest to be bigger than Twitter in less than a couple of years"...

"Last month, Facebook had more than 7 billion total visitors; Twitter had 182 million; and Pinterest had 104 million total visits from people in the United States, according to data sent to CNN by Experian." (, March 2012)

For those of you who haven't heard of Pinterest (a perfectly normal state for any human, by the way) or want to know more about it, I've been playing with it here. And, yes, I think it is an interesting other-side-of-the-coin to Twitter (images v words) and yes, I think it will grow.


Anyone who makes predictions of how Pinterest will be placed in a race against Twitter (and the prophets include some very well-informed people) is surely missing an essential point. At the beginning of 2011 Pinterest only had 10,000 users. If it can grow at this speed, so can some other start-up no-one of has heard of - a Social Media offering that elbows Twitter and Pinterest out of the way, while kicking Facebook in the genitals.

But, even more likely, Twitter and Pinterest - and the others - will evolve. Who'd have predicted that Google would be developing driverless cars? In 12 months time - maybe six - Twitter and Pinterest may be quite different animals. The tortoise might become a rhino and the hare might become a carnivore.

Science has not yet mastered prophecy. We predict too much for the next year and yet far too little for the next 10.
Neil Armstrong

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  1. So how do you like it?

    You might also want to think about the dubious legal situation, concerning intellectual property and copyright that Pinterest is in. Read e.g. Sean Locke:

    Let's imagine for a moment a Pinterest for music (instead of photography), where people copied and shared music freely. How would people react to that (from an IP standpoint)?

    Yet copyright protection is basically identical for music and photography.


  2. My partner ( is a photographer, so I am very aware of that issue. Her sister also works in the field of music copyright.

    However, I think you'll see Pinterest evolving very rapidly. You can already embed code that prevents people from taking your image and putting it on Pinterest. Some will avail themselves of that while others will prefer hallmarking that allows the promotion of their brand, via their images, without providing material of value. (Obviously, this doesn't prevent potentially damaging use of your images, but that's a risk you run the moment you post anything online, and the moment your pics feature on a Google search).
    We live in a very, very rapidly changing world!

    Oh, and to your original question, I think it has great potential as an alternative to a lot of what websites currently do badly.

  3. I (almost) only pin my own images. And I have set up a wine shop on one of my Pinterest pages for Sticky Wines

    Oh and Getty is on the case waiting for people to start making money from their images or using their images for advertising.

    I use Google Image search to track my own images. If a business uses one of my images then ...

    So Per don't worry. It could be a nice little earner for you.

  4. Here's my Sticky Wines shop window on Pinterest. All my own images.

  5. Ooops just noticed that one of the images was by a customer posted to Twitter.

    1. Warren, Catherine would like to know if you actually SELL any wine through your Pinterest board...

  6. "You can already embed code that prevents people from taking your image and putting it on Pinterest." is a very backward logic.

    In principle, everything is protected unless the author allows the use.

    Pinterest tries to turn that around by (implicitly) saying "nothing is protected unless you specifically enter this piece of code on your site".

    I do know we live in a rapidly changing world but copyright theft does not have to be an accepted part of it.


  7. Ier, I am sitting with my brother-in-law who works in copyright law and says that your comment echoes his thoughts precisely.

    As I said, I sympathise with both of you - and with other photographers like my partner Catharine - who are at risk of being ripped off. But, as I say, we do live in a very different world in which a growing number of people, for varying personal, cultural and commercial reasons, actually want to see their efforts spread virally. To complicate matters further, there are people who may want some of their images to be picked up by others (as a means of promoting their own brand) but not others (stock pics for example). We also have a novel mixture between amateur and professional image-creators.
    It's a very complex issue to which I don't think anyone currently has an answer but I'll bet that it's a little too late to go back to the traditional copyright model that operated so well until very recently.

  8. In short, Pinterest, like most others is about Ego. It's about telling everyone what you like, hoping people will read and share. It's all very well having a cool Pinterest board, but in reality how many people are really going through other people's boards and really looking at content and engaging and converting. It's more about giving out rather than taking in. I think you have more ability to have a voice and for people to take notice and read and so on with Twitter and FB.

  9. What they also don't cover properly - well they are now - is the use of trademarks and so on.... People are making up names and so on of boards or interests that actually are brands and registered sites and so on.

  10. You're absolutely right, Pinterest is about Ego, but so to one extent or another is all social media. The first key to it is the relationship between Person A who wants to tell others about themselves and their thoughts and Persons B-Z who are sufficiently interested to look at what A has posted.

    The second key is the audience commanded by any of these players.
    In other words, if A is Beyonce thousands of people may be interested in the fact that she's lost her keys.

    Alternatively, A can be the person with no celebrity following who filmed a dog owner in Richmond Park and caught the imagination of thousands of strangers and those strangers' followers.

    The power of viral videos on Youtube makes me believe in the image-focused quality of Pinterest.