Well, I have found a new way to waste some hours - Pinterest!
I shouldn't say waste... it's not all a waste of time... but it sure can get addictive easily.
Pinterest is a relatively new social media site based on visual communication and sharing photos. I first heard of it when my sister showed me the "pinboard" she was making with all sorts of ideas for her wedding. Man, I wish Pinterest had existed when I was planing my wedding - what a neat way to gather ideas in one place and share them easily with your mom, sister, etc. Ok, so that example is particularly girly, but it's not just for the ladies. It's wide open.
Pretty much any photo you find online (that's not copy protected) can be "pinned" to this site and shared with anyone who cares to look, who can, in turn, "repin" the photo to their board, and on and on. Pinned photos are organized into categories called boards, and you can have as many boards as you please. People can also "like" and comment on your pins as well as their own. It's also cleverly hooked in with facebook so that you can find your friends and "follow" their pins, so that every time you sign on, all your friends' pins pop up on your home page, kind of like the home page feed on facebook - but less talk, more pretty pictures!
Sounds pretty interesting, right? Something you might check out just for fun if you have some free time one afternoon. That's what I thought, and that's how I got hooked. I had about an hour to kill one afternoon waiting for Mark to get home so we could leave on a trip. I pulled it up.... and ended up creating like twelve boards. I'm a fan of organizing with lists, you see, and when I can put ideas and pretty pictures into fun lists all in one place... well, I get a little carried away.
Here are a few of my boards: (I warn you, these links may not work unless you are logged in to Pinterest, so I'll leave that up to you...)
Art & Design
So there's already some art up there. And I started thinking that Pinterest could be a pretty good marketing tool. But then there's the copyright issue.
Now if you start looking, you can find article after article both praising and condemning sharing your work on Pinterest. I follow Art Biz Blog, and they have posted several articles on this very problem. I'm not going to go into both sides of the argument here, but suffice it to say, I was a little concerned about putting my own work up to be shared. So I polled my facebook friends to see what their takes on it were. Here are a few of their responses:
E.B. (photographer) : I say do it. You run the risk but you always run the risk, and I think it's probably a solid marketing tool.
J.C. (metalsmith) : do it. everyone copies everyone and if you limit how many people can see it you limit your customer base.
N.W. (painter) : Is it any different from putting your stuff out on Etsy or anywhere else really?
A.K. (metalsmith) : Recent article in ny times about several instances of litigation against those posting. Pinterest only protects themselves not their users. I decided not to go there...
All of this got me thinking of everywhere I post my work online. My website, hosted through Other People's Pixels, does now allow photos to be downloaded. But I have work posted on my personal facebook page, my facebook fan page, my Etsy page, as well as my blog. And to be honest, none of these images are safe.
So what to do? I agree with most of my friends in that Pinterest could be a pretty solid marketing tool. However, I believe that any art posted on Pinterest, or anywhere else for that matter, needs be properly cited with credit given to the maker. That said, if you're pinning someone else's art, make sure it links back to the original source, ideally the artist's website. And I always make sure that if the artist's name doesn't appear in the label, I trace it back, find the artist, and include their name in my label. If I can't find the artist, I don't post it.
My solution for my own work: adding a watermark right in the image. So even if the pinner doesn't credit me, my image does.
I will be posting a tutorial on how to quickly make a watermark using Photoshop later on.
So how do you feel about Pinterest? What are your thoughts on the copyright issue? Please leave comments and suggestions for others as well! And please follow me on Pinterest, too! It's pretty fun... and addictive...