Why (and how) I use Pinterest

When I first encountered Pinterest, I thought it was largely a waste of time. Why would I need to join a website to find and/or store references from the web?!

Shortly after starting my blog, I noticed on my stats page that a lot of hits were coming from Pinterest. I figured “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and signed up for a Pinterest account. I started a few boards of my own and began pinning images, including ones from my blog and website.

This is my most popular pin so far: directly and indirectly (re-pinned on other boards) it has brought almost 700 views to my website and blog in a year.

Much of the time people follow the link from a pin and just look at the one post or page the image came from, but sometimes people stay and look at much more. Although I have not set up my site as a commercial venue, I have sold things as a result of people finding my work. I don’t know if they got to the site through Pinterest, but there is a good chance they did as it is my largest single source of referrals.

I also use Pinterest as a way of finding things. It’s a pre-edited image search. I follow a few boards from people that have similar interests. (You can follow individual boards, or you can follow people. I mostly do the former.) When they post something new, I get to see it. I also get suggested pins based on the boards I have myself. As a result of both those sources of images I have found a number of wonderful things. For example:

an old lettering book with images available free on line,

a review of a Su Blackwell exhibition,

(this one took a couple of steps) Noriko Ambe’s website,

and most recently, a lovely article with selections on letterpress printing taken from Anais Nin’s diary.

I still search for things myself, but there is a delightful serendipity in the finds of others, even if it’s the Pinterest algorithm.

I have one particular pinner who is my current favourite. “Mr Loo” is interested in books and keeps boards with very specific topics. This means that I can use his boards as a reference without having to wade through hundreds of images.

Here’s a closer look at some of his boards

and here are some of the other people I follow. (You may be able to make out that some of the ‘people’ are actually museums and galleries.)

Since I am a visually-oriented person, I find the boards useful as a filing system. I don’t pin every image from a website I might want to re-visit, just one that will remind me what is there if and when I need it. I keep pins on people and subjects that interest me.

You can keep private boards, so I have ones for recipes and for crafts like sewing and knitting —things that are not part of my public persona as an artist. You can also use Pinterest as a resource without keeping any boards of your own.

It turns out that Pinterest is not so useless after all. What started as an attempt to draw traffic to my website and blog is now also providing me with a useful reference tool and a source of entertainment.


About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in book arts, Design and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Why (and how) I use Pinterest

  1. lcmt says:

    I should give Pinterest another try. I struggled with it when I first tried it out. I dislike being forced to waste time learning a format that could be easier and more intuitive to use. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much every social network site I have encountered since I left LiveJournal. 😀


    • Byopia Press says:

      I didn’t find it that difficult: perhaps they have made it easier to use?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lcmt says:

        It is me, I’m sure. When I first opened a Tumblr account, I gave up and didn’t go back for more than a year. I hated Windows 8.1 for 3 weeks when I got my new computer last year. You give Pinterest such a glowing recommendation, I will have to try it again. I just have to wait until I can summon patience–with myself.


      • lcmt says:

        Actually, now that I think about it, Pinterest sounds like it will be an improvement over Tumblr, which I use for discovering art and artists.


    • Byopia Press says:

      Perhaps it is simpler on a Mac? (Mildly surprised that someone doing graphics is using Windows.) Also, I left out some of the minor irritating things, like having things I have already pinned —including pins of my own work— recommended to me. Decided to just go with the fact that I am generally pleased. ;]


  2. I am slow, catching up with your blog… This is a very interesting post, reminding me that I generated a pinterest account once for the same reasons, and maybe should start using it again. I find pinterest sometimes a little annoying in that all too often a picture links to itself without any reference or to flickr in general, and I have trouble finding out where someting comes from. Since most people (including me most of the time) on pinterest rely on the system to give the correct credits, they sometimes seem lost.
    For example this here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/453878468674723834/
    I have spent hours trying to find the source of the image, without success so far.

    That was in the end the reason I turned away from it. But as I said, you give very good reasons to give it another try, – and I actually did, looking for miniatures and instructions, and it helped me a great deal and gave me some new ideas for messages in bottles. Thanks a lot!


    • Byopia Press says:

      It can be frustrating when a pin links to Tumblr or Flickr, or when the original post is no longer on the web, so all that is left is the pinned image. Pinterest does seem to have improved its auto-labelling so that more recent pins are easier to track back. I usually only pin things that I can track back to the source.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.