Private Boards come to Pinterest


Finally! You can now keep your boards private on Pinterest.

The holidays are a time for being with family, sharing great meals, and, of course, surprising your favorite people with a special gift. That’s why we thought the holidays were a perfect time to test one of our most frequently-requested features: secret boards! Starting today, we’ll be rolling out a test that enables anyone to create three secret boards.

We hope that secret boards will make Pinterest even more useful. You can use secret boards to keep track of holiday gifts, plan a special event, or work on a project you aren’t yet ready to share with the rest of the world. You can keep your secret boards to yourself or invite family and friends to pin with you.

Learn more.

Pinterest Terms Updated

Since Pinterest has come in to the public eye, there have been many articles and posts about the inappropriate sounding terms of service. This week I got an email from Pinterest letting me know that they will be updating the terms to alleviate some of these concerns.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on an update to our Terms. When we first launched Pinterest, we used a standard set of Terms. We think that the updated Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy, and Privacy Policy are easier to understand and better reflect the direction our company is headed in the future. We’d encourage you to read these changes in their entirety, but we thought there were a few changes worth noting.

  • Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.
  • We updated our Acceptable Use Policy and we will not allow pins that explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse.
  • We released simpler tools for anyone to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements.
  • Finally, we added language that will pave the way for new features such as a Pinterest API and Private Pinboards.

We think these changes are important and we encourage you to review the new documents here. These terms will go into effect for all users on April 6, 2012.

Like everything at Pinterest, these updates are a work in progress that we will continue to improve upon. We’re working hard to make Pinterest the best place for you to find inspiration from people who share your interest. We’ve gotten a lot of help from our community as we’ve crafted these Terms.

Ben & the Pinterest Team

On Pinterest

Tonight I attended a talk on Pinterest given by John LeMasney. Pinterest does one thing and does that one thing very well – it’s an image sharing/bookmarking tool.

Social Visual Bookmarking Precedents

John started by showing us sites that came before Pinterest that had/have a similar purpose :

  • Delicious
    The idea of social bookmarking became popular with Delicious, but has lost a lot of users because of Yahoo!’s poor management of the news that they were no longer going to support it.
  • Diigo
    Diigo sort of picked up the pieces when it looked like Delicious was going away. They took the model of Delicious and then built more features on to it.
    This tool allows a limited set of users who were found to be digital content curators to share their images with others. The limit to users means that you probably can’t get an account, but it also means that you’re going to find many amazing images. This site is geared more toward the visual designer versus the average user.
  • We♥It
    Another visual sharing site, but is much less exclusive than FFFFOUND is.
    Another visual sharing site.
  • Piccsy
    Yet another visual sharing site.

Pinning, repinning, following and liking

Which brings us to Pinterest. John gave us a brief tour of the features of Pinterest including: Searching, Pinning, and Pinboards

Pinning is how you share images on Pinterest. Like on Delicious where you would ‘bookmark’ a page, on Pinterest you ‘pin’ it. You then organize your ‘pins’ by putting them on Pinboards. You can also create group managed Pinboards like my ‘Picture for Presentations‘ board. What you can’t do yet is create a private board – all boards that you create a public at this time (this is one of the suggestions John has on his Pinterest Suggestions board).

We’re going to come back to this, but if, when you pin something, you take the time to enter a citation in the description box, you will avoid some of the potential trouble with Pinterest’s terms of service.

Another thing we found while asking questions and poking around was that people can add you to groups without your approval, you can remove yourself from groups. If you’re seeing things on your Pinterest list of ‘Pinners you follow’ from people you don’t know it might be that you were added to a group, so click on the image and see if you can track down why you’re seeing it and remove yourself from the group if you’re not really interested in that topic.

Lots of people are using Pinterest to try and sell things – but we’re not trying to sell – we’re just trying to get people in the library. Free is so much easier than selling, we just have to be in people’s faces and right now those faces are in front of Pinterest.

You can also ‘Repin’ items. This is when you find an image that someone else shared and you re-share it. One example is if you have a cooking program. You can find the board owned by the chef showing pics of his/her recipes and repin them to the library board to promote the event.

Branding best practices

Some obvious best practicees – participate! So many people and organizations sign up and then don’t use the tool. This looks very bad for you and for your brand. I have found several companies on Pinterest that have never shared a thing! Don’t do this. And along with that participation is to do something regularly.

Obviously you want to respect copyright and ownership. Add citations to descriptions and educate others how to do this.

Include links! You want to add a link to the description or by editing the image you have posted and adding in a link. You want to make sure you link back to your library site or ILS or whatever page at your library you’re posting content from.

Make sure you remember your brand! If you’re sharing content on your library site on Pinterest you want to make sure you stick to your brand. Make sure you use language that you’d use in a press release or on your website in your descriptions. That said, don’t only pin your own stuff. Make sure you share things from other boards that have to do with your events, your philosophy, your mission, etc. This makes you a member of the community on Pinterest.

Use group boards. Collaborate with colleagues and patrons so that you can benefit from their participation and extend your community even more. A group you could share with your patrons is to say ‘What I Like About Libraries’ and have your patrons share things they like about libraries – it gives you ideas and promotes libraries in general. Always remember to add keywords and hashtags to add metadata to a system where there is no other great method for metadata (yet).

More tips:

Copyright and fair use

What do Facebook, Pinterest and a scholarly article all have in common?

It could be peer review, it could be respecting copyright, it could be proper citations – you just have to make it that way!

Why does Pinterest say they own all of your pins?

Because they’re trying to cover their behinds. In Pinterest’s terms of service they say that they own everything you post on Pinterest. In reality what they’re trying to say is that they’re not responsible if someone illegally shares your work on their site. They don’t want to be sued because they provided a platform for copyright infringement.

Copyright is not given – so in the end Pinterest cannot say that they “own” your content, they’re just trying to protect themselves.

Filtering and search

Basically you can search for images, boards and people. Nothing much else to say here.


Going to your settings in Pinterest will allow you to turn off sharing on Facebook and other social networks. So if you use Pinterest for personal reasons and Facebook for professional or vice versa you might not want to share content from Pinterest on Facebook automatically. You can also limit emails that you receive and other general settings.

Suggested improvements

  • Improved searching. It would be great to search by color, camera, etc etc etc.
  • Metadata. Adding tags and tag clouds would help you find information and see what type of things certain people are pinning.
  • Tagging people and places. It would nice to geotag and tag faces like you can in Facebook and Flickr.
  • Android App. There is only an iPhone app right now.
  • Licensing options. I should be able to say that this is not mine, or is mine, or put a creative commons license on it – again this is something that Flickr does already.
  • Threaded discussion. There is no way to reply to a specific comment – it’s a flat discussion format.
  • See John’s Pinterest Suggestions


John will be posting his slides and a video online and I’ll add that when it’s available, but I didn’t want to wait to share all I learned with you all!!

[update] Slides and video are now online on John’s site [/update]

Are you backing up?

There was an article on TechCrunch today about a massive mistake made by Flickr:

IT architect and Flickr user Mirco Wilhelm couldn’t log on to his 5-year old account yesterday, and when he asked the Flickr team about this issue they flat out told him they had accidentally flushed his entire account, and the 4,000 photos that were in it, straight down the drain.

Apparently Wilhelm reported a Flickr user with an account that held ‘obviously stolen material’ to the company last weekend, but a staff member erroneously incinerated his account instead of the culprit’s.

Now those who know me, know that I post all my pictures on Flickr but you may not know that I do keep a copy of all of my pictures on my computer and on an external hard drive. Basically I have my pictures in three places so that if something like this happens I’ll still have my pictures. So my question to you is – are you backing up your data?

I got a recommendation for a Flickr backup application called Bulkr. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux so it’s an option for all of us. I also have a lot of other Flickr applications bookmarked on my Delicious account (which I also back up) if you’re interested in trying other options.

What you choose doesn’t matter, as long as you’re backing up the content you keep online because accidents happen!

Two Favorite Photo Tools in One

I’m so excited. While I’ve been away on vacation, my two favorite photo sites have formed a partnership. Flickr & Snapfish now work well together. I used to have to upload my pics to both places when I wanted to create gifts or order prints – now I can just upload my pics to Flickr and then import them to Snapfish …

Import Flickr to Snapfish

– or simply use the new Print & Create tool on Flickr!

Print & Create at Flickr

My gift creation this holiday season is going to be so much easier than in the past – thank you Flickr & Snapfish!!

Tagging People in Flickr

Woo Hoo!! Just what Flickr has been misssing – the ability to tag people who appear in the photos! I was looking at pictures from Internet Librarian and a change in Flickr popped out at me – there is now a small link on the right hand side of the page that lets you list people who are in the picture you’re viewing! Check it out:

Tag People in Flickr

Awesome new feature!!

Flickr Galleries

First, I am obviously behind on my blog reading – but I just learned from Cnet that Flickr has announced a new feature – Galleries.

There’s a long list of features that we’ve wanted to develop for our members. Giving our members a way to celebrate the creativity of their fellow members has always been high on that list. Today, we’re thrilled to launch our newest feature: galleries.

For whatever you find interesting, fascinating, or mind-blowing on Flickr, galleries are a way to curate up to 18 public photos or videos of your fellow members into one place around a theme, an idea or just because.

Learn more by reading the help on Galleries on Flickr. You can also check out my start at a gallery of libraries I would love to visit some day.

Flickr v. Picassa

As many of you know – I am a die-hard Flickr fan with a Pro account and a camera by my side at all times! I did however give Picassa a try when they came out with a Mac version and did like it – but I have too much invested in Flickr to make any switches – not that I want to. Anyway, if you’re not using a photo sharing site yet, this post by David Israel compares the two from his point of view and then by others in the comments.

My only problem with Flickr is that I have no way to download my pictures to my computer with all of the added metadata (geo-tagging, tags, titles, description) on my Mac. If you know of something I don’t – let me in on the secret cause I would love to be able to download my pics!!!

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Flickr Improved Contacts

Yesterday Flickr improved their contact lists:

Today we’re releasing changes to Flickr’s contact list page, that make finding, managing, and generally noodling-around with your contacts an easier and more enjoyable experience. You can now also now search for people within your contacts.

You should check it out if you have a lot of contacts like I do – it’s much easier to navigate!!

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