Friday, May 24, 2013

Let's Talk Pinterest, Pinning and Images from our Blogs

The other day, I was checking out some of the statistics for my blog, including "top traffic sources." I noted that "pinterest" had climbed to the number one referring site for the last week and month. It is still second to google for all time, but it is clearly on the rise as a referral for me. I joined pinterest to be able to see who or what was being pinned on pinterest from my blog. I have one post which was been pinned, A LOT.  It is this one:
It features a travel journal tutorial.  I can understand why it's popular, and I am happy to share it with others.  The idea for the tutorial actually came from Vicki Chrisman, and I made sure to ask her if I could share it and then credit her and her blog.
That was all well and good, but then I was a little taken aback when I saw that this photograph has been pinned and repinned a fair amount:
It's a beautiful photo of Henry and his girl friend before last year's prom. It's been pinned to boards about posing couples and ideas for prom pictures (you can read the full post here). I'm proud of the photo and a little pleased that people think it's pin-worthy, but yet . . . I don't know. It somehow feels a little intrusive to know that Henry and Vanessa are floating around in the pinterest world. While I don't mind having my art out there, it feels different to have pictures of my kids out there (even though this has been pinned more as art/ photography than as a picture of Henry, if you know what I mean).
Then, I started noticing a button that says "This is a no pin blog," like this one on some of the blogs I follow. I did a little more research and found that there is a bit of a controversy about people pinning images to pinterest without crediting them properly and the possibility of images being sold by others.  Bloggers have responded with ways to make sure that pins are done responsibly, ways to block all pinning, and ways to allow only selective pinning
I'm not sure where I come out on all this. I like the idea of pinterest bringing people to my blog, and I have always realized that anything I put on my blog is open to the public.  This doesn't worry me; I'm a public person with a public job, so I don't find putting things in the blogosphere too concerning. That's why I've never minded using our real names, real locations, etc. 
But somehow it bothers me. And I'm not sure why. 
I don't think people are taking my photography and using it without acknowledgment, which would be an issue for me.  I know that my blog friend Amy has had this problem recently and so has started using a watermark on her photographs (read her wonderful tutorial here). By the way, I found this really interesting post about how to see if your images are appearing elsewhere on the internet. I looked for a few of my photographs and found nothing, so I think I'm good there.  
I am really interested to read what others think about this issue.  Do you use pinterest? Have you had things of yours pinned?  Did you like it and want to encourage it? Or do you want to discourage it?  Have you ever had an image stolen? How did you find out and what did you do about it? As usual with a "Let's Talk" post, I'll leave this one up for a few days so people have a chance to weigh in on the issue. All opinions welcomed.  Let's talk about it!
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"Let's Talk" is a semi-regular series designed to inspire frank discussion and sharing of information on issues relating to photography, art and blogging. 

29 comments:

Abi said...

Gosh, lots to think about here Rinda. I can totally understand your unease about that lovely photo of Henry and his girlfriend. I thankfully haven't had pictures stolen but I have had some false pins. I have done an inspiration post and added some pictures of pins I like with correct sources. The trouble is those pictures were then pinned by other people from my blog so they lost correct sourcing. I have added a hover over pin to all my photos so hopefully it makes pinning easier and gives the pin the correct source.

Amy said...

I've read all your links today and walked away and thought about this a bit - because there are several issues and ideas I have.

What I like about blogging is the opportunity to develop relationships. When I post a picture or a scrap page on my blog, it is part of a dialogue and an exchange with the lovely people who drop by and read, but more importantly, comment. I don't have a large readership but a high percentage of my readers do leave comments and I feel that generally a relationship has been formed.

By nature, I am not a shopper or the sort to browse the shops/read many magazines - and therefore I think Pinterest holds little attraction for me ... unless there is a specific purpose. I think it is a superb resource but it is not an online place I frequent all that often.

I think the correlation between sharing and a reciprocity of ideas creates the respect when linking etc, the anonymity of Pinterest makes people lazy more than anything, I think? Generally I don't think people mean to omit or incorrectly link.

Personally, I have had a few scrap pages pinned and all were linked correctly to the Simple Aussie Girls blog. What upset me more is that I have had a photo appear on another scrappers blog with no credit and I have had some photoshopped messages etc put up on another blog. In both cases I know there was no malicious intent but it really made me stop in my tracks and consider what I am prepared to share, and I did think that the whole relationship of trust between fellow scrappers/bloggers was broken. In these cases I didn't approach the other bloggers - I think I have to take a proactive stance and control what I put out there rather than requesting someone else to take an image down - afterall, I did put it out there. I don't have a brand to protect and I'm not selling anything - just sharing within a like minded community.

In some cases I truly do think people are unaware of how to link correctly, that has happened to me on more than one occasion, but now that I know better, I do better.

I love that so many people are willing to share their ideas and I think online sharing is sensational. It just pays to remember to be polite and respectful - as if you were communicating with someone face to face.

Jennifer Grace said...

It's something I've been thinking about. I rarely post a photo of a project by someone else - if I'm inspired by someone else's project I will provide a link back to their project but not a photo of it, as I don't want someone to pin it from my blog as though I was the original artist.

I also share less family photos on their own than I used to, I try to just show them on finished layouts. And that was because I was worried about my kids images being used without my knowledge. I don't let it stop me putting ANY photos on, I just do it less than I used to = less opportunity for them to be grabbed.

In the end I just make sure I don't put anything on my blog that I'd be horrified to have shared elsewhere, because you never really know do you? x

Mommy2CVC said...

I love Pinterest and use it all the time! I visit it more then any other site. I understand your concern, and you have a lot of followers so I would think your stuff would get out there. I've always been surprised that you don't watermark your photos because you take amazing photos and it is very easy to take photos from someone else's site. I've had blogging friends have photos taken from their site and someone used them as their own family. This has always freaked me out and could be why I don't actually blog much. I often think of making my blog private because it really is only for me. Good questions today!

alexa said...

Very thoughtful, Rinda ... As someone who rarely looks at Pinterest, I am thinking now that I should at least go and see if any of my stuff has been pinned. I read how,to do this once but no longer remember. I don't use images from others' blogs but prefer to link, so that the correct attribution is given... I have always been a little anxious about photos and prefer to put them into layouts. Lots to think about here and I am going to have a cup of tea and retread your post and do some more thinking!

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

Yes, there is a lot to think about once you start putting yourself out there. I blogged about this a while ago, when I realised that folk were pinning photos from my blog that weren't mine. I had credited and linked to the source, but people weren't clicking the links to pin from there. Great travel journal tutorial, I hadn't seen that before.

Cheri said...

This got me to wondering and so I went and checked my stats - and I have zero traffic from Pinterest. Most of my traffic is direct to my blog or links from other bloggers. Of course, I haven't ever done anything to drive traffic to my blog (unless you count participation in blog hops).

I have no way of knowing if any of my images have been pinned or borrowed without attribution (I don't even know how to look this up) and I guess that is just a chance I've decided to take in the interest of sharing what I do and getting feedback from others. I'm not sure how I would feel about it if I did find a family photo on someone else's site. I'm sure it would bother me.

That said, I don't have even half the number of followers you do. My steady readership is limited to about a dozen people who I've developed a relationship with via our blogs and who I consider to be friends, (along with a couple of family members and a couple of personal friends from pre-blog days). The blog friends are all people I hope to meet someday in real life and all people I would welcome into my home should they ever come this way. I have no plans to monetize my blog, develop a brand or identity, teach, or otherwise use my blog to sell anything, so I'm not worried about increasing readership. I'm very content with the relationships I've developed at this point. I think if I had any dreams or plans to develop a business from my creativity, I might approach everything about my blogging differently. So there's a consideration that doesn't factor into the mix for me.

Sian said...

See, this has always been my feeling about the run-away effect of posting pictures of people. That's why I don't like posting too many family pictures or pictures of people I don't know. That's why I'm wary of posting pictures of public places with unknown strangers in them..because then I'm responsible if that picture of those people appears somewhere it shouldn't.

Your photo is a beautiful one and you should be very proud of it..I can see why people would want to refer back to it for inspiration! What does Henry think? The Facebook generation have a different take on it I think. They don't see it as invasion of privacy if someone admires their photo

Now, copyright infringement. Heck, I'm a librarian, don't get me started..I do try to stay mellow about it. It's a compliment if someone wants to pin one of my pages. The embarrassing thing for me is if someone has pinned an image from a guest post from my blog and credited it to me and not my guest. I don't like that.

It's great to read the responses here.

Sian said...

I'm back because as I travel round blog land tonight I have been thinking about this some more. The irony for me is that, for all I have said about privacy infringement, it's the personal pictures which probably pulled a lot of us together in the first place. They show who we are and what we believe and if we all get too scared to post, then that would be a sad thing and our lives would be the poorer for it..

Karen said...

I agree that it is a tough question to consider when your personal photos are put onto Pinterest. It is of course quite flattering to be pinned but I am a great believer in 'give credit where credit is due'. I very rarely post a photograph of Gracia that she hasn't already put on Facebook and therefore the choice to put it out there has been hers in the first place.

Louise said...

A lot to think about Rinda and like you I post photos of my boys. Social Media is now the way we communicate...the way of the world...in the back of my mind i only post photos that i hope I won't mind finding somewhere else. I do love pinterest and usually when a source is pinned it takes you back to the source it was pinned from. If we have correctly credited that source on our blogs then I don't think (I could be wrong) that we should worry.

Carolyn Dube said...

Thanks for the link showing me how to search for my images- it was really interesting. I have been amazed too by what is frequently pinned from my site too- it is very interesting to see that. That is a really amazing photo of the kids by the way!

scrappyjacky said...

I always try to link back when I post anything on my blog....with Pintrest I try and pin from the original site....though that can sometimes be difficult with re-pinning as the person I'm pinning from may not have pinned from the original.
I think we need to expect that anything we put in cyberspace may be 'pinched' and used elsewhere....so I'd never put a photo on my blog that I wouldn't want to pop up somewhere else....though I've never even looked to see if anything of mine has been used elsewhere....apart from craftwork being pinned.
I agree with those who've commented about the Facebook generation...my kids post stuff on Facebook that I certainly wouldn't....and while it's not 'public' in the way a blog is....I'm sure more people see it than ever look at my blog!!!
I'm certainly going to take a look at some of your links.....a very interesting post,Rinda.

humel said...

Thanks for this, Rinda - especially the link to the info about tracking down your own images online. I tried that with the images on my most popular blog post, and discovered that one of them has been used on 3 websites to illustrate articles (I'm not too bothered about those, bearing in mind the image and the websites in question, even though only one of them acknowledged my blog as the source) but also uploaded to a Facebook page where some people have left some quite nasty and completely unjustified comments about it (this bothered me rather more, and I haven't yet quite decided what to do about it. I think on the whole I'm glad the Facebook person *didn't* link back to my blog, since I don't really want those nasty, odd people to find their way there!)

Melissa said...

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately as I'm hoping to update my blog over the summer. Right now my blog is not searchable, so everyone who finds it is linking from somewhere else - an online class, Pinterest if someone else has pinned something, friend's blogs, a reader, etc. Of course that doesn't eliminate these issues, they're just less of an issue maybe. However, I'm planning to change the way my blog is set up, so I want to do some clean up first and have considered adding the watermark.

Thanks for such a thoughtful post - I've bookmarked it so I can check out some more of your links as I move forward with my changes!! :>)

Anonymous said...

interesting, but i think the rule "if you dont want it out there, dont put it up there" is really the way to go.. i mean you can use the "dont pin" thing to keep your photos out of pinterest, but unless someone is exploiting your work or your kids (dont get me started on that!) then my opinion is that you somewhat assume the risk when you post something in a public forum .. i'm really trying to teach Angelina that anything you post is out there, forever, for anyone and i think we adults need to remember that, too ... i think you should be flattered that your lovely picture is used for a "how to shoot couples" ... unless you find something awful being done with your pix, take away from this discovery the good part ... at this point, you can't put the geni back into the bottle, so choose the positive side :)

Mariana

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I assume pictures on my blog, watermarked, will still be taken up and used by people without my knowledge. I had a run in with some pedo perverts & a photo of my 1 year old about 9 years ago which made me more aware of name choices for photos, because it was entire;y due to the name of the .jpg that attracted them. But i still post pics. I just try to be more sensible about it.

Becky said...

An interesting post Rinda. Personally, although I did join Pinterest I've not really got to grips with it and don't pin things or look at it at all. I've bookmarked this post to come back to when I have had more time to think about it.

boysmum2 said...

It definitely does give you something to think about. I have started in the last year or 2 to add my blog name and date to my pictures I post. I don't ever use our surname and even though people know my town I hope I have left enough of a mystery to exactly where we are. I def do not put the boys school on there.
I do use Pinterest although I tend to only view pins already on the site and am not big on pinning from a website, however I do hate when you follow a link and it takes you to the persons website rather then straight to the post with the pin in it, at least that way if someone has made reference to another source with where they got the idea from at least you can see and follow if you wish.
I guess if we are prepared to put a picture on the web then like others have said we are prepared to let others see it and sadly that does mean that it may get circulated without us knowing. I checked my stats and have no traffic from Pinterest but then I ahve never pinned from my own site so maybe I am safe for now. maybe we do need to start ensuring we either watermark our pictures so how or at least put reference on them so people can see it is copied from somewhere else, maybe I need to start using the url of the site and not just the site name from now on??

Thanks for the thought prvoking post, always interesting to read

Beverly said...

I think it's a huge compliment that the photo is on a board related to good photography. That being said it probably would finally get my butt in gear to start using a watermark. I love Pinterest, I find so much inspiration there, much more than from magazines, etc. I try very hard to go back to the original source when I share things I have discovered on Pinterest.

Miriam said...

Such a lot to think about here Rinda so thank you for that. I have never looked at the stats for my blog, I have very few regular readers and commenters and I am very happy with that. I have only published someone else's photo once and I had their permission to do so and of course I linked back to her. I just don't know how I feel about this, I will think more. I have loved reading everyone's comments on this (I don't usually do that either!)

S said...

Well that's a stunning photo and easy to see why it has become a popular pin. I, myself, have waves of concern about privacy issues, so I try and remember that when I post a photo. But my worry ebbs and flows, so I've not obsessed about it too much.

Jo Murray said...

I still can't come to grips with Pinterest, and I can see why you feel uncomfortable with Henry and Vanessa floating around in the ether. Ways of blocking Pins could certainly be useful on occasion.

Carolyn Phillips said...

I use Pinterest in fits and starts, but I do use it a lot. I use it mainly to keep a record of inspiring things rather than projects, so I have boards dedicated to various colours and shapes or to different artists or to rust etc. When I pin from the net I try to make sure I pin from the correct source, but most of the time I repin and when doing that I don't tend to check. Owning up there.

I think I agree about feeling uncomfortable about personal photos being on there - there is something slightly icky about that isn't there? I've been thinking more and more about putting a copyright symbol on my photos, but rarely remember.

I don't seem to get much if any traffic from Pinterest, so I presume there are not many of my images there, only the one or two I have pinned myself. I do like the idea of only being able to pin certain images and am tempted to look into that more. I'd certainly like to be able to say which images are representing me.

Gail said...

So much to think about Rinda. I'm saving this so I can come back to it tomorrow when I'll have more time to digest everything. Meanwhile good luck tomorrow.

Karen said...

I'm just starting to catch up with blog reading after the longest break I've ever taken, and this post has stopped me in my tracks. Later today I'll go through your links. I do pin things, and think I'm doing it responsibly, and I have no idea if anyone has ever pinned anything from my blog. Like Amy and Cheri, my readership seems to be mostly blogging friends, (like you), with whom I've developed a relationship over time. But I do know there are some readers who rarely or ever leave a comment. I don't often check my stats, but when I do I'm sometimes surprised by the number who have read a post. I watermarked my photos for awhile, but then gave it up. At the time, I thought it wasn't worth the time it took me to do it.

happysnapper said...

I had not blogged for around 6 months but decided to upload lots of layouts, however when I looked at my blog stats I noted traffic coming from places I recognised, like this blog and other scrapping sites but also a site I didn't recognise. When,I clicked to see what It was, it was a porn site. I was horrified, having researched why this would happen it seems that it is common practise, often unscrupulous websites will link to innocent blogs to increase their credibility. It seriously freaked me out though that people who were looking at a porn site made their next stop and my blog and I have not posted anything since. Has this happened to anyone else?

happysnapper said...

I had not blogged for around 6 months but decided to upload lots of layouts, however when I looked at my blog stats I noted traffic coming from places I recognised, like this blog and other scrapping sites but also a site I didn't recognise. When,I clicked to see what It was, it was a porn site. I was horrified, having researched why this would happen it seems that it is common practise, often unscrupulous websites will link to innocent blogs to increase their credibility. It seriously freaked me out though that people who were looking at a porn site made their next stop and my blog and I have not posted anything since. Has this happened to anyone else?

Jimjams said...

WOW - so glad I had time to catch up on some blog reading - a very thought provoking post Rinda - thank you! I like the way Pinterest is a visual bookmarker; I didn't like the way everyone could see what I was pinning (though there are now "secret" boards. I stopped clicking on referring sites in my stats when they kept leading me to adverts for things (luckily nothing as awful as Jane experienced).
I'm not too happy about images of my family being *used* elsewhere, but I think most people who re-pin or grab images from my blog really have no concept of copyright and don't do it maliciously. Hope so anyway :-)