I know I'm always telling you that I need help.
Well, this time I definitely need help!
You see - I have become a "pinning" addict.
Now, if you're wondering what "pinning" is I have to tell you that it's not a new craft that I just learned.
It's a very, very addictive, popular, fast growing internet activity - a "visual" pin-board. One which seems to have control over me the last few months as I just cannot stop "pinning."
If you're wondering what in the world has grabbed a hold of me it's a website called "Pinterest" (http://pinterest.com).
What exactly does this website do?
Well, according to their Facebook page: "Pinterest is an online pinboard to organize and share your inspirations! Pin your favorite images and videos from anywhere. Discover new things hand-picked by people who share your interests."
According to their About page: "Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite."
Their mission statement is: "Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests."
So far I have created 51 boards with 2202 pins and, if you know me, I'm sure you know there will be plenty more before I'm done.
I've created different boards for all sorts of things I like, such as: some of my handmade Victorian dolls (of course), my cross-stitch projects that I'm very proud of, patterns and tutorials from "The Best Free Craft Articles" that I love, some of my e-patterns, creative embroidery I'd love to try (if I had a few spare moments), my favorite art doll artists, my favorite mixed media artists, my favorite doll pattern designers, my favorite teddy bear artists, my favorite needle & wool felt designers, doll and craft classes I'd love to take, my favorite "softies" designers, Victorian fashions and Godey's fashion plates I love, my favorite prim and folk-art designers, doll houses and miniatures, crazy quilt designers I love, beautiful art quilts, amazing art, cross-stitch and punch needle designers I love, some of the best blogs from "Top Blogs By Crafters", some of my patterns and e-patterns, quilt things I'd like to make, craft books worth reading that I've reviewed on the "Book Review Corner", felt things I love and would like to create, fun paper crafts, mixed media, items I wish I could paint, sewing ideas and notions, etc.
I find myself drawn to my boards each and every time I sit down at my computer. There's just something inspiring in looking at all the astonishing creations from my favorite artists and designers. I find myself drooling at times at their amazing creativity and the talent there is among the artists and crafters on line.
Pinterest.com touts that it's all about the "visual" and I have to tell you that the "visual" has captured me and it certainly inspires my creativity - not that I can create anything as astonishing as some of the creations on my boards.
So, why would I spend so much time on this?
Well, with everything I've done above I've been able to not only promote myself, but to promote some of the amazing artist and crafters on the web, and to help promote some of the artists and crafters who are members of or who have contributed free content to some of my blogs/websites. Also, I get to organize all the things that interest me and which I love in nice, neat boards.
For a small business crafter "pinning" is a win-win. It's a fabulous way to present a visual image to a vast audience whose distribution capabilities are endless.
Members of Pinterest can follow all your boards, follow some of your boards, re-pin something they liked of yours to their boards, or "like" your pin. So something you pin can have a cascading effect and end up on countless pinboards.
And, here's the best part, and why it's a win-win for a small crafter - items pinned from the web carry the URL of the website they were pinned from. So, if someone clicks on a picture of something on one of your boards the URL connected to that image is the webpage where the image was found.
This is accomplished by adding a "Pin It" button to the bookmarks bar of your browser. That way when you're browsing the web and you find things that you like or that are of interest to you can just click the "Pin It" button on your browser and then add the image to one of your pin boards.
You can further promote your products by adding a “Pin It” button to your the product pages of your website. If you have a selling blog you can add a "Pin It" button to each of your blog product posts. This will allow blog readers or customers to pin the products of yours that they like to their boards.
You can also add a "Follow Me on Pinterest" button to the home page of your website or sidebar of your blog. Mine is in the upper right hand corner of my blog and is also shown below:
If you choose to follow other members boards or some of their boards then you can browse through the latest pins of the members you follow, go to their pages and browse through all their boards, browse through "everything" on "Pinterest" by category, browse the most popular pins, videos, or gifts.
Like just about everything on the web Pinterest is not without it's own fair share of controversy. Some things have been corrected already and some still need to be changed. Some concern copyright issues, the ability to change the URL's of the pins, and so on. There are a lot of posts out there that have been written about Pinterest over the last few months. If you Google Pinterest I'm sure they'll pop-up and you can read them for yourselves.
My take on all this is I believe in crediting artists and designers with their creations. All my pins include the artists name and/or business name and the URL is always to the website where I found the pin. Uusually this is the artist or crafters blog or website. If I'm re-pinning from someone else's board I always click through to the website attached to the pin. If I want to re-pin this item I will add the artists name and/or business to my re-pin and make sure the URL is to the website where the item was found.
If an artist or designer has a board of their own creations and has uploaded pictures of their creations then I always add the URL from their Pinterest board to their item on my board. Right now if you upload images yourself the URL is blank and Pinterest shows as "Uploaded by User" on your board. Pinterest needs to change this to provide the URL for the board it was uploaded to so everyone can click through to the actual user who uploaded that item.
What's really great about Pinterest for me is that it's quiet. In that I mean that I can go to Pinterest and browse at my leisure. Unlike Facebook, their is no date or time stamp. There is no pressure to comment on friends posts or activities. No one knows if its been a few days, a few hours, or even a few minutes since I've visited or not. I can pin away at my leisure, make a comment on something I like if I want to, re-pin something for further reference, or just browse through beautiful eye candy. It's a simple website that is extremely easy to use and I hope it stays that way as it gains in popularity.
If you're thinking you can just set-up boards to promote yourself - well, you'd be missing the main point of "Pinterest" which is to share the things you love and in doing so share a bit about yourself. According to them: Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.
Pinterest is a great tool for small business crafters because it allows you to quickly show the things you've created that you're the proudest of and allows potential blog readers or customers to see what interests you. That way they get to know more about you, your likes, and your passions.
Plus, if you add the "Pin It" button to your product pages then anyone who likes your product can "Pin It" to one of their boards and if others like it they can re-pin it. Talk about a great way to easily promote your products.
Right now if you want to become a member of Pinterest you have to request an invite by clicking the link on their home page or ask an existing member to invite you.
If you become a member, don't be surprised if you can't stop pinning either!