July 2, 2012 / 11:12 AM / 7 years ago

Modern Etiquette: Pinning politely on Pinterest

BURLINGTON, Vermont (Reuters) - Pinterest is currently the newest cool kid on the Internet block, and with so many pinners pinning away (aka users sharing images), there’s good reason to review best practices.

Pinterest sets the stage for good use well by sharing pinning etiquette in its welcome email, and it keeps pinning etiquette easy for users to find on its site.

Still, whether you’re there for fun or for your company, it’s a good idea to keep Pinterest’s guidelines, as well as a few other points of emerging etiquette, in mind when pinning.

1. Be respectful. Pinterest is about sharing inspiration and creativity, so keep comments positive. If you don’t like something, simply refrain from repinning or liking it, or stop following the board or pinner who shared it. Instead, stick with what you do like about a pin, “Love the use of color!”

2. Give credit where credit is due, be it an author, company, designer, photographer or anyone else involved an image’s creation. If a site has a “pin it” button it’s a clear sign they welcome you to use their images; even so, add crediting information, especially any that the site pre-feeds into the pin description. If a site has blocked visitors from pinning its images, respect that decision and refrain, even if you see a way to obtain the image another way.

3. When pinning, take the time to click through to verify the original link. Regrettably, some pinners will misdirect users for their own purposes. If a pin links to an unrelated site, skip the pin and scroll on.

4. Add a comment or description to your pin so that others will be able to search for it (take a moment to proofread, too!) Pinterest is about sharing not just what inspires you, but why you’re inspired by it. Though tempting to share full instructions for a recipe or DIY project you’re excited about in your comment, write a short description instead, and let others who are interested find out the details through the link. Never copy and paste entire posts or articles from someone’s blog or site to share as your description.

5. Don’t pin from search engine results; pins from general image searches don’t allow other pinners to find out the link or page from which the image came. If you find an image through a Google Image search for example, click through to the link and pin from there, including any source information you find. Pins from other image sharing sites like Tumblr can be tricky to source what with so many people reblogging from each other. Keep clicking back through the posts to find the original post.

6. While it’s not exactly etiquette, it’s helpful to other pinners to categorize your pins correctly. A picture of a cute kitten isn’t fashion or home decor!

7. For the sake of the entire Pinterest community, report inappropriate pins.

8. If you find a pinner you really like, feel free to repin. While there is no exact cap on the number of repins you can make from someone else, stop short of culling their entire collection. Follow the golden rule and only repin as much as you would be comfortable having repined from you.

9. You don’t have to follow everyone who follows you, but it’s worth at least checking out their boards to see if you might want to return the favor and follow them in return. It’s not rude to pick and choose among boards from a pinner you want to follow. It’s also okay to stop following a board or pinner at any time—this is your space to feel comfortable in.

10. Lastly, don’t forget to come up for air! New pinners (and even a few seasoned ones) are notorious for getting obsessed with all the new creative discoveries Pinterest opens up. The beauty of the site is there will always be more to look at, so set a daily limit, then log off and get inspired by the people in your life, too.

(Anna Post is the spokeswoman for The Emily Post Institute, a U.S.-based organization founded in 1946 that addresses societal concerns including business etiquette, raising polite children and civility. The opinions expressed are her own. The Emily Post Institute's website is www.emilypost.com)

Editing by Paul Casciato

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