Pinterest, what’s the fuss?

In the fast-paced world of Internet start-ups and social media companies Pinterest has been around for a couple of years already. It has however gained a lot of interest in the past few months after high profile names start using it, and a slightly dubious legal issue it needs to address (more later).

But, what is Pinterest? Well … “Pinterest is a virtual pinboard to organize and share the things you love.” Does that make sense? I should know better than to turn to Wikipedia for help but this does explain it quite well – Pinterest is

“a pinboard-styled social photo sharing website that is designed for users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies and more.”

You must first ask (and wait) for an invitation. Once you get one you can sign-up and get started. The welcome email provides some helpful netiquette tips too, these being:

  • Be Nice!
  • Be Creative. The best pinboards mix products, art, recipes and images from all across the web. Try not to pin everything from a single source.
  • Give Credit. If you blog about an item you found on Pinterest, it’s nice to credit your fellow pinners by linking back to the original pin.”

Here is a great video introduction to Pinterest too:

But what of the issue about copyright? There have been some articles and blog posts about this in recent weeks (The Reason I Just Deleted My Pinterest Account and ) and here is why – the Pinterest T&Cs state that by pinning the image you are saying you have the copyright or intellectual property on that image.

Here’s another quote from the volume of stories about Pinterest – you can make your own mind up (as I am doing):

“While we maintain that sharing a link on Facebook (praised by content producers) is the same as sharing a link on Pinterest (feared by content producers), it should be noted that for people leaving the site… the proverbial cat is out of the bag and any content a user puts on the site may continue to display and be re-pinned, even after their account is deleted.” – Pinterest: what happens when you close your account

“To further avoid more of these copyright issues and encourage users to “be authentic” without having to worry about their creative content being sold by the site, Pinterest also deleted a Pin Etiquette principle telling users “not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion”.” – Pinterest Terms Of Service Get Updated

Ignoring these legal ‘hiccups’ (?) how could Pinterest be used in education and the classroom?

  • Plan: create a board for each lesson, project, event, assignment, etc, and use this with students who can re-pin and add these resources to their own boards.
  • Inspire: follow boards created by other users (and follow them too), revisit your boards (especially if you allow others to collaborate with you on it), you’ll soon find other resources you weren’t aware of before.
  • Share: with Pinterest being a ‘social’ network the whole sharing thing is a given, it will only be of use if you share. As with the lesson plan, encouraging students (and faculty staff) to create and share resources will benefit those with whom it is shared.
  • Structure: use different boards for different subjects, projects, events, activities, etc. Organise them properly at the start and it will be easier to maintain, pin, and share.
  • Visualise: use the boards as a graphical diary (blog) for the project, print them out, tag and pin people, videos, audio, etc and make it interactive.
  • Collaborate: invite the students to collaborate on your boards, ask them to contribute to the board and to the project, subject, etc.

Further links, resources, and quotes can be found on the Mashable website.

Here is me, my boards, on Pinterest –

What do you think, is there a future for Pinterest and classroom activities (faculty and/or student)? Are you using it already, want to share you experiences, then please leave a comment with links to your Pinterest boards and/or write-up of your project.

As always, there’s an “infographic for that”, and here is one you can find on the TechCrunch website.

And another – “16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest“: