Thursday, February 16, 2012

Seduced by the Siren Call of Pinterest

Through fellow members of The Lucky 13s, I learned about, a new social networking site where you create virtual "pin boards" filled with images from around the web. Because Pinterest is so visual compared to other networking sites, it's probably easier to show you a sample board instead of describing one. Here's a collection of inspirational photos and artwork for In the Shadow of Blackbirds:

Basically, the board is what the novel looks like to me. I've also created an In the Shadow of Blackbirds fashion page to show examples of 1918 clothing, as well as boards for recommended ghost tales and historical reads.

Pinterest is highly entertaining, and if you're an author, it's another great way to let people know about upcoming releases. You attract Twitter-like followers, and people seem to find boards rather quickly.

But... the site is ADDICTIVE. If you're having enough trouble focusing on a project without the siren call of Twitter and Facebook luring you away from your work, don't get started over at Pinterest just yet. Once you've created one board, you'll more than likely feel compelled to create another and another and another...

Now that I've dipped my toes into Pinterest's seductive waters, I'm struggling to resist the temptation to keep returning. My boards are there, people are following them, and I've had my fun, but I know I need to refrain from checking in with the site on a constant basis if I want to get anything else done.

The bottom line: Use the site if you absolutely have the time. Otherwise, skip it.

Are you already on Pinterest? Leave your URL in the comments section so my readers and I can find you. Have questions about the site? Ask away.

My Pinterest profile page:

ADDENDUM: One more pro and con to mention...

Pro: The boards can be extremely useful for gathering research material in one place. This morning, I was digging up info about 1880s clothing for a book project, and I realized I could pin all the useful images to a board specifically for fashion research. The links to the source material always appear below the images.

Con: The issue of copyright. Because I've been hunting down licensing info for images used in In the Shadow of Blackbirds, I've become especially sensitive to the problem of pirated images. There's some controversy over Pinterest and copyright violation. Here are a few articles that discuss the debate:,, and Truthfully, the copyright issue has me tempted to pull my boards down.

Any thoughts from artists worried about their images appearing on the site?


Anonymous said...

I've been resisting the urge to dip my toe into Pinterest but your post definitely intrigues me. It's like online scrapbooking.

Cat Winters said...

I've never answered the siren call of scrapbooking, but I can definitely see the similarities. Both involve laying everything out prettily on a page.

Let me know if you join, Liz.

Lydia Kang said...

Hmmm, I wondered about the copyright thing. You'd think Pinterest would have that covered already? Maybe since it's not being overtly used to sell something.

In any case...I loved your page for your book!

Cat Winters said...

Thanks for the note about my page, Lydia!

They have a policy where copyright owners can complain about pinned images, and Pinterest would then get the images removed.

I'd be curious to hear if artists and photographers feel like the site helps them by driving traffic to their own sites or hurts them by allowing the images to be shared everywhere. I've uploaded some of my own photos for my boards, and I'm personally OK with them being repinned. Then again, I'm not a professional photographer who gets paid for my images.