Geek Life

How Not To Be a Jerk on Pinterest

Pinterest Header Like pretty much anyone else on the planet with a decent WiFi connection and oodles of free time (or not so free time), I love me some Pinterest. It helps me with meal planning, blog inspiration, and many other totally legitimate things, on top of the hours of entertainment I get from just browsing and re-pinning like some sort of virtual kleptomaniac.

However, as a creator of content on the internet, I am also sensitive to probably one of the biggest issues with Pinterest: a chronic lack of proper attribution on pins. I’m sure you’ve run across this many times yourself. You see an awesome bit of Doctor Who fan art on the Geek feed and you just sort of mindlessly re-pin it before you realize that the creator’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on the pin.

Oh well, that’s the nature of Pinterest, right?

No. I say. We can do better.

We can actually fix these mistakes and pin with a clear conscious.

And I’m gonna show you how.

The first thing you’re gonna want to do is download and install the Search by Image (Google Image Search) extension for your browser. I happen to use Chrome, so I got the extension here. This will allow you to right-click on an image to instantly search Google using that image, which will be super important very soon.

Next, go to Pinterest and open the board you want to start tidying up. I usually try to do this once a month when I’m vegging in front of the TV, but I suppose you could do it as soon as you add a new pin. I’m not quite that organized, but maybe you are.

Take a close look at the URL underneath the pin. Where does it go? Is it a DeviantArt page? Someone’s blog. A random image sharing site? A Google search result?

edit pin

Typical URLs that are immediate red flags for proper attribution: 24.media.tumblr.com, google.com, imgur.com, etc.

If you see something that looks like it might be hinky, click the image and see what the URL it opens looks like. Sometimes this will actually give me the info I need and I’ll just update the description for the pin. If that doesn’t give you any more information, right click to do an image search:
google image search

Sometimes you’ll get lucky right off the bat, and sometimes it’ll look more like this:
google search results

It wasn’t until I got to the second page that I got lucky:
good search result

Sure enough, there was the image, with the name of the artist. And it turns out you can buy the image too!
imagekind

Now, go back to Pinterest and click on the little pencil icon at the bottom of the pin to edit it.
pin edit view

You’ll want to update the URL to the new one you found and add the artist’s name to the description (plus any other info you found that might improve the quality of the pin).
voila

Voila! All better.

Now you can rest easy knowing that you’ve made the internet just a little bit better for artists and Pinterest just a little more useful too. Good job!

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenny
    August 28, 2013 at 9:30 am

    huh… did not know this. I’m definitely gonna be going through some of the pins I have and see if I can correct them 😀

  • Reply
    Jane Yoo
    August 28, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Great post! I almost freaked out wondering if I had pinned things without them going straight to the proper site! I think I also saw a picture of Piri floating around Pinterest somewhere but didn’t see if it led to my Tumblr site. Hmm!

  • Reply
    Mariko
    August 28, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Thanks, Jane & Jenny. I always get a little upset when I see pics of blogger friends floating around Pinterest without proper attribution or context. I just wanna comment on random people’s pins, but then I worry about looking like a rude jerk there too… oh well.

    I had some other stuff I wanted to add about not pinning pages (OMG that drives me CRAZY) and when a non-original source is okay, but I guess I’ll leave that for another post.

  • Reply
    Joie Fatale
    April 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    COOL! Just read this today! I hate when I don’t know the artist! will do this from now on.
    Is there a way to do it on the phone app?

  • Reply
    HBT (@HADSTERIFIC)
    December 28, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Mariko, you’re wonderful. Thanks for sharing this very helpful trick. I just installed the plugin (didn’t know I needed to if I had google chrome, I usually right click and I can search, but this is wonderful!)

    Going to share your post on twitter. This is important!

    • Reply
      Mariko
      December 29, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Thanks! I’m a little behind on doing this myself, but it is definitely something I feel very strongly about.

    Penny for your thoughts...