Artists and Pinterest
We get to grips with the latest digital networking tool and ask: how can artists use it?
What is Pinterest?
A photo-sharing, pin-board style website. See an image you like, 'Pin It' and it will automatically appear on your board. It really is that simple.
Is it similar to Twitter and Facebook?
In some ways, yes. As with Facebook, you can 'like', comment and share things other people have 'pinned' on their own board. The similarity with Twitter is that your board is public - anyone can see what you are posting, just like when you tweet.
So why should I use it?
We are visual artists - Pinterest is visual! One of the biggest criticisms of Twitter is that it is too reliant on text. Pinterest on the other hand is an image-sharing social media network.
How can artists use it?
Using the 'boards' function, artists can create and curate different galleries of images. For example, you might have 'new paintings', limited edition prints', 'commissions' and 'sale items.' In my case, I have created boards under the headings 'Latest artwork', 'freelance commissions' and 'Art I like'. Be creative - the possibilities are endless!
How many users does it currently have?
Matthew Caines reported in Guardian Culture Professionals that it is the fastest independent site to hit 10 million monthly unique visitors in the US. Shareaholic has also reported that Pinterest drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn. In the UK there are around 250,000 users.
How much time is spent on it?
ComScore has reported that in January 2012, 13.76m people worldwide visited Pinterest, spending an average of 89 minutes on the site. In the UK, the average was about 25 minutes pcm. This lags way behind Facebook and Twitter but for a site that has only really just started to gain momentum, the signs are positive.
Pinterest and copyright
As with Facebook, Pinterest has faced criticism regarding copyrighted material. As Matt points out in his article, Josh Davis at LL Social has claimed that 99% of pins are likely to be in violation of Pinterest's own terms of service. These state that when a user pins an image it means they have been granted access to do so or own the item personally.
A 'nopin' HTML meta tag was released by Pinterest on 20 February 2012 that allow websites to opt out of their images being pinned. Also, as Joann Pan reported on Mashable on 24 February 2012, Flickr has implemented the code, allowing users to opt out their photos too.
How do I sign up?
At present you have to apply to be invited, although chances are this policy will change soon (just as it did with Google+). If you don't have friends already registered who can invite you, simply click the 'request an invite' button and you should be sent an invite via email within 48 hours.
One irritating thing about Pinterest is that you have to sign up with either your Facebook or Twitter login details - presuming you have them! However, once you are signed up you can un-sync the accounts in settings. Nevertheless, it is a needless hassle.
Pinterest is incredibly addictive, and used in the right way could be a fantastic, and fun, addition to your online promotional strategy. There are still a few irritating elements that need to be ironed out (the 'Pinners you follow' board tends to look a bit spammy, and the mobile apps are terribly clunky) but you could say the same about Twitter and Facebook and they have been around for years. So get pinning, create a board or two and start connecting with the Pinterest arts community!
Follow Jack on Pinterest here »
Sign up to Pinterest here »
Jack Hutchinson is an artist, writer and educator. A specialist on the role of digital technology within the visual arts, he is Communications Officer for AIR: Artists Interaction and Representation through a-n The Artists Information Company. His writing has featured in a diverse range of publications, including Dazed and Confused, Garageland, Guardian Culture Professionals, Twin Magazine, a-n Magazine and Schweizer Kunst. Based in London at Bow Arts Trust, he is an active campaigner for artistic, legislative and economic measures that enhance artists' working lives and professional status. His drawings have featured in solo and group exhibitions across the UK.
First published: a-n.co.uk February 2012
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