Alas for Pinterest…I knew it, Horatio…~Hamlet
I have never been really good at following trends. When I was in fifth grade, everyone decided that any pant leg that, like, moved, was a bell bottom, and they also decided that bell bottoms were the stupidest things ever. Therefore, everyone had to roll up their pant legs into the “French cuff.” I thought that was really stupid. I’d do it on occasion but my pants weren’t really hemmed to be rolled up. Trend – missed. When Google Buzz and Google Wave launched I didn’t even sign up. I tried my best to resist Google Plus but I just can’t say no to Sandy Hubbard, and she insisted I give it a try. So you see, the only trend I really follow is that I don’t seem to follow everyone elses’ trajectory.
With that in mind, it may not be surprising that I have opted to delete my Pinterest account while everyone else is still talking about how great it is. Yep, that just happened.
I’ve always thought Pinterest was pretty fun. It’s like a super colorful, happy scrapbook/bookmarking system. It’s a nice visual way to share information. I dig all of that. But there are a few reasons why I had to call it quits.
1. My time is too valuable – I’m already pretty saturated with online world time. Twitter, Facebook, blogging, trying to figure out Google Plus still…and all of this is a professional hobby. With my work and with wanting to have some semblance of a life beyond the computer, Pinterest just takes too much time, and in the end it doesn’t really yield anything for me but fun and a few smirks. I don’t want to devalue fun and a few smirks, but I have other stuff I need to do more, most of the time.
2. It doesn’t really tie to my business/job or clients – I know a lot of people are saying that Pinterest can work for B2B companies, and they may be right. I just am not seeing it as a good match for our clients and their products/services. I have to emphasize things that will either help our clients or help me grow as a professional/human being. I love looking at pictures of beautiful clothes, but I can’t rationalize that as being a part of my professional development (even if I look at really professional clothes).
3. Questions about affiliate links: Even if Pinterest was a perfect match for some of our clients, I’m still not 100% clear on the impact the erasing of affiliate links is having on sales for companies that are selling products there. Granted, few sales situations are 100% pristine these days, but it’s hard for me to recommend something that I still feel a bit wary about.
4. The spam, spam, spam: The final breaking point for me, though, is the growing problem of spam. From the beginning, I raised questions about how you know where all of these images click to. It’s really easy (if you haven’t been on the site you may not realize how easy) to simply click “repin” and place an image on your own boards. You don’t have to click anything. You don’t see a URL. You just see a funny or interesting picture. Well, the problem is that a lot of those images can hide a spammy website that unknowing people will be directed to. I know this because this has happened to me on two pictures I have clicked in the last two days – the only pictures I have clicked on in the last two days. Given that I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to the platform, I don’t think it’s realistic to sit there and make sure everything I was sharing led to a legitimate site. I would rather not share anything instead of risking sending spam to anyone who shares my pictures.
Pinterest is fun. It may prove really valuable to certain businesses, and I’m sure people will continue to find innovative uses for it. I don’t frown on any of that. It just doesn’t seem worth the time commitment or the spam risk to me. And I would caution you to watch out for what you are sharing. Have you checked your links lately, especially for things like recipes or things people would need to click to see full-size? It might be worth your time.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ladymixy-uk/4059154289/ via Creative Commons