Pinterest's somewhat difficult relationship with issues of credit and copyright has made me a little uneasy from the beginning, but since pretty much everyone else was just happily pinning and repinning without worrying too much about it, I went along with it. A large part of my recent organizing, though, was tracking down and giving credit to original creators. It's really not hard, and I think it's the right thing to do.
So, what I did was:
- For each pin, I checked the link to make sure that it still worked, and that it went to the page where that content or image was originally posted. If you spend much time trying to get to actual websites from Pinterest, you can probably guess how this went.
- If the pin didn't link to a "real" website (if it just went to an image search result, or an arbitrary page of a tumblr, or something like that), I tracked down the site that the content originally came from. The easiest way to do this is to use Google Image Search:
- Click on the little camera icon in the right side of the search bar, and you can paste in the image's URL. Then Google will search for that picture and return websites that have the same or similar images on it. When the top page result is somebody's Flickr account, as in this example [edit: I just noticed that the link actually is to someone's Flickr favorites, but from there it's easy to get back to the original photo], then I could be pretty sure I had found the original creator. Sometimes it was a little more tricky, but usually either going to the website that hosted the largest version of the image I was looking for, or to the oldest website, was successful.
- Then, once I had found the original website, I edited that pin and changed the website to the link I had found. In some cases, I just deleted my old pin and created a new one with the correct link.
- There were a few times that I just couldn't find an original creator. In those cases, I tried to at least find their name to put in the pin's description, or to change the link to the earliest source for that content that I could find.
- There were also a few pins where I found the original creator's Flickr page, but they had not enabled pinning their photos. In those cases, I deleted my pin.
But I did not stop here! Another bad Pinterest habit I've fallen into is just leaving whatever description happens to be on the pin when I repin it to one of my boards. A lot of people do this, leading to some bizarre situations if you assume that the description on the pin is what your friend actually had to say about it. I do a lot of my Pinterest browsing on my iPad, so it's much easier to just repin and not type in a new description of my own, but it was starting to bother me that so many of the descriptions on my pins were things I would never actually say! So, I went through and fixed that too.
Then, just to do a little more tidying, I unfollowed a few boards that my contacts pin to. I'm not that interested in elementary education, paleo diets, fitness (sadly), crafts for toddlers, or some of the other things my friends are into, so I just unfollowed those boards. Much better! Now my pins are all, to the best of my ability, correctly attributed, and they have my own comments on them, and my main feed is mostly just stuff I actually want to see. Ahh, organization.