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30 improvements Pinterest should make in 2012

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Pinterest could be so much better

We introduced you to Pinterest last fall, not only showing how the sharing network functions but how it can be used in business, and recently we offered invitations to the private network as well as solid ideas for boards that professionals can create to earn influence on Pinterest, we have also named the company one of the 60 Genius Brands to watch in 2012, so we are closely watching the growth explosion right before our eyes.

Rather than rehash why Pinterest is so awesome and addictive, I have taken a look at the network from a more critical perspective in hopes that these 30 suggestions help the growing site to continue improving so as not to lose steam. The suggestions for improvements are broken down by category and described in detail – we invite you to share additional suggestions in the comments below.

Commenting

1. Regarding commenting, Pinterest should offer better controls such as being able to turn off comments on a single pin or board, or on an entire account. Yes, it is a two way conversation, but bloggers can turn off comments, why not Pinterest users?

2. I would like to be able to “@” mention users in comments on pins I am not personally following, this would improve the ecosystem by allowing me to tag people and point them to neat finds without clogging up my email inbox with notifications on something I don’t personally care about.

Boards

3. Pinterest must offer private boards or the ship could sink. I mean it. I want to be able to share cuss word filled memes with my best friends but not my professional audience or the public at large. I would like to keep notes for myself on fatty foods I don’t need anyone to know that I’m eating. I should be able to Pinterest with just my parents, in-laws, and uncles who are all on Pinterest (but not Twitter, by the way).

4. Additionally, group boards that are public would be great as well. Yes, users can curate boards together, but the board belongs to the creator exclusively. Team member should be able to tell their story together as a group, not always separately, but still be able to maintain their chosen level of integrity (or lack thereof) on their personal account.

5. Simple suggestion: make the name of each board an active link, not just the photos leading users into the board, it’s just a common courtesy on the web.

Users

6. I would like to group users and share content with them. I don’t mean like in #3 or #4 above, I mean like on Google+ where I share content with specific groups. Home decor I pin can be seen by all on their main page of “Pinners you follow,” while web memes can be shared with my designated girlfriends, infographics with my geek friends, housing ideas with my real estate contacts, and so forth. All pins are still public to someone viewing my profile, but only populate on the “Pinners you follow” page of those that I designate.

7. I would love to view “like users” who have similar content to mine rather than finding them like a needle in a haystack. This would also help the growing male population to find each other (hint, hint, Pinterest, this is a big one).

Search

8. Allow me to search by category. I can already search by person or board, so thank you for that, but I would love to be able to search for “muffin” in just the food category so I can avoid memes about Gingrich or pins showing muffin tops as inspiration to lose weight. I just want food, thank you.

9. Search should not be limited to the two pages, I should be able to scroll infinitely until no more results are yielded. The result I want might just be #101 out of 100.

Pins

10. Cure pin duplications in a user’s stream. If I saw it once by User A, I don’t need to see the same picture repinned over and over by my friends, User B through User W. This is not just my suggestion, this is easily the number one complaint of all users. Sometimes I think I’m psychic because I am already familiar with a pin, but I’m not psychic, so please stop tricking me, Pinterest!

11. There should be less clicks to delete a pin. Right now, you have to click the pin you want to delete, click edit, click delete pin, then confirm that you want to delete it. Too many steps, let’s streamline that. I’d be happy with even one less click.

12. When my bookmark realizes all content on a page is dynamic and no static picture is available, I would love to be able to share a screenshot, for example, interactive infographics are often not recognized as something that can be pinned and I can’t share valuable information with the community.

13. I would like to be able to rearrange pins within a board, just as I can rearrange boards on my profile.

14. One improvement that I would love to see is the ability to allow pins to be added to multiple boards. Please? A funny kitten may belong in “adorbs” yet “humors” categories (yes, I am aware that I have stupid names for some of my boards).

15. Sometimes we make mistakes, or we reorganize our Pinterest boards, so it would be lovely if we could move pins in bulk rather than the tedious process of recategorizing them one by one.

16. Just because I put a dollar amount on something does not qualify it as a gift. If I pin a $1.4 million dollar house, that is not a gift unless you’re talking to my gold digger high school girlfriends, so let’s rename that since the user culture has gone more mainstream than shoes and jewelry.

17. Pinterest, I beg of you to add support not only for Vimeo who has better video quality than YouTube, but for animated gifs which I hate explaining to people (“this is so funny but you have to leave Pinterest to see it, but I promise it will be worth it. I think. I hope.”). Tumblr offers a play button, but I suggest that for load times at least allowing a gif to be animated when someone goes to the specific pin rather than when shown on the main page. Is that a good compromise?

18. I would love to see pins that are related to the one I am viewing. Right now I love that I can see other pins from a specific URL, but I would love a more robust semantic search of pins to produce related results. Sometimes I start digging for Android gadgets or cashmere tops, so this would be a big help and would help users connect with like minds, a goal you have been very public about.

Categories

19. Pinterest, I congratulate you on going mainstream, but now that you have, your categories should graduate with you. I suggest looking at StumbleUpon or Reddit’s categories for inspiration.

Metrics

20. Offer stats to users for private review, showing the average number of likes and repins you have, or how much time people spend on your pins specifically. Without some measurement from a bird’s eye perspective of how an account is performing, brands may be less inclined to be involved as ROI is more complex than simply hits to their website. Nothing complicated, just some simple metrics that a marketer can take to their VP to show traction.

Notifications

21. I really, really need for notification types to be grouped and emailed separately. I want to continue receiving email notifications of all likes, repins and followers, but I sometimes miss new followers because they’re lumped in with a hundred likes and repins. At least give me the option to separate them?

Design

22. I have a lame suggestion that I would never use, but could there be a “red/blue” option for color schemes while using the site? I would probably have more luck convincing my male counterparts to get involved if everything wasn’t so fabulously pink. Just a simple button could butch up the site a bit.

23. This is a small request, but after I use the bookmarklet, could you please return me to the position on the page where I left off instead of taking me back to the top?

24. Make the Pinzy Chrome App permanent so users can hover over any tiny image and enlarge it to decide if they want to view that pin and its details. Could this lower clicks a bit? Yes, but only in the short term. The better the user experience overall, the more users will remain and clicks will stay high in the long term. I already use it through Chrome, but it should be native to the site.

25. Limit how much of a comment shows up on the main page to 300 characters. If I want to read more, I’ll click on that specific pin, but I’m opening my page and a single pin is taking up several page scrolls and I have a pretty dang big screen here, Pinterest.

26. Please allow me to sort landing page results by popular and trending, not just what is new. I promise to spend more time on the site if I have this option and I won’t be the only one. I’m not ashamed to admit I like knowing what is trending, that’s kind of why I’m on Pinterest in the first place!

27. Please sense broken images early on and notify me somehow or bump them to the bottom of a board – I hate opening my profile and seeing a random white spot with a tiny white “x” from some glitch.

28. I would love to have a viewing option that makes a pin full screen and lets me flip like a magazine to the next pin. It would be a better tablet experience for sure, plus I prefer giant images any chance I get.

Apps

29. There is no native iPad app, and as an Android user, I really don’t care, but I know a lot of Mac people who would like a native app.

30. I would really like better social media apps that won’t pollute my stream. For example, I know you say that on the Pinterest Facebook Timeline app, you will “automatically group your pins, showing your most active boards and recent boards you’ve chosen to follow” but I’d love more control – perhaps only posting one update per week of my top activity or even monthly.

Thank you, Pinterest

I take the time to write this to offer suggestions because just like when we were among the first users of Twitter and made product suggestions, we did so because we were a small group of users forming the culture of the social network which gave us a feeling of ownership which is what we feel about Pinterest.

We hope some of the suggestions in what we’d like to think of as a love letter to Pinterest are implemented soon – 2012 is your year, Pinterest, and we look forward to product updates!

UPDATE: we have suggested 12 more tweaks Pinterest could make. Click here to read more.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Kerry Melcher

    January 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    You got so many of my wants in here. I know they are improving all of the time but I can't wait for their next iteration. happy pinning & stuff!

  2. Emily

    January 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I would like to be able to repin something easily before I am logged in. There are times when I get logged out, pull up the Pinterest home page, and then end up seeing something I would like to repin. If I hit repin it makes me log in and then that pin is gone. I adore Pinterest! I find myself thinking more creatively, which is a side I have missing in myself since having my children and being a young mom.

  3. Kim Hollenshead

    January 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Great post, Lani. I'm an avid Pinterest user. Okay, who are we kidding, I'm an addict. Love the suggestions and because you're an Android user perhaps your phone app is more stable, but on the iPhone the stability stinks. I'd love to add that to your list of 30, pretty please.

  4. Stephanie crawford

    January 20, 2012 at 2:39 am

    I'd love to see and HTML code option to embed a slide show of a board on a different website.

  5. Rochelle Hutcherson

    January 20, 2012 at 6:50 am

    The terms say there is an option to report nude photos but I can't find that option. It's shocking to me when I come across crude photos and I enjoy pintrest but I'm going to stop if this can't be blocked or stopped.

  6. sommerwithano

    January 20, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I have always had the feeling that Pinterest didn't quite end up being used in the way the developers intended it to be used, but instead morphed into a different animal than they expected. I love the idea of visual bookmarking (it makes so much sense!) but really, who wants to share all their bookmarks with the world? Thanks for this list – Pinterest is really cool but I think that if they don't do things just right someone is going to take their idea one, er 30, steps further 🙂

    P.S. And really – no iPad app?? Get with it P!

  7. Kelly

    January 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    GREAT suggestions. I was surprised by how many of the things you've suggested I have been fine without, but would make it sooo much better. The suggestion of the option for guys to choose blue, for example, seems so simple… I've been writing a review (comes out Thursday on https://twyste.com) of their app and in doing so was thinking of names for the site that were more boyish and didn't evoke images of DIY bows (Pinterest just sounds girlie to me). Unfortunately all I came up with was "Nail it" and "Nuts and Bolts," but it's possible those may have other connotations as well! 🙂

  8. Shannon Frye

    January 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I received an Pinterest invite but it seems I can only hookup to Pinterest through the Facebook Timeline, which I don't want to do. Is there another way to set up a Pinterest account/page? Thank you!

  9. L. Stein

    January 27, 2012 at 1:01 am

    I want to be able to flag pins that are from a broken link or the wrong link (usually happens when a person pins a new blog post using the link of the blog's home page rather than the individual post associated with the image". I hate when I waste time repinning a broken link only to find out later. Often I do this instead of checking the link first because I know Pinterest won't let me back to my exact spot and rather starts from the top again as you wrote in this list.

  10. Barb

    January 30, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I would like to see a privacy setting as was stated in #3. I would like the optiion to either not accept a follower or be able to remove them.

  11. Terri

    April 4, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    SO need these changes!! For me, the privacy/ block options are number one, then some tagging please?

  12. ekobor

    August 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I want to be able to filter what shows up on my following board not just by the mentioned removal of duplicates… but also to not see what I’ve pinned, or things I’ve already liked/pinned.

  13. EllenHanscomWhite

    October 26, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I want to be able to delete pins on my group board.
     
    I want to be able to block constant invites to boards from the SAME person!

  14. Pingback: Will Google Crush Pinterest?

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Social Media

MeWe – the social network for your inner Ron Swanson

MeWe, a new social media site, seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

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Let’s face it: Facebook is kind of creepy. Between facial recognition technology, demanding your real name, and mining your accounts for data, social media is becoming increasingly invasive. Users have looked for alternatives to mainstream social media that genuinely value privacy, but the alternatives to Facebook have been lackluster.

MeWe is poised to change all of that, if it can muster up a network strong enough to compete with Facebook. On paper, the new social media site seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

MeWe prioritizes privacy in every aspect of the site, and in fact, users are protected by a “Privacy Bill of Rights.” MeWe does not track, mine, or share your data, and does not use facial recognition software or cookies. (In fact, you can take a survey on MeWe to estimate how many cookies are currently tracking you – apparently I have 18 cookies spying on me!)

ron swanson

You don’t have to share that “as of [DATE] my content belongs to me” status anymore.

Everything you post on MeWe belongs to you – the site does not try to claim ownership over your content – and you can download your profile in its entirety at any time. MeWe doesn’t even pester you with advertising. Instead of making money by selling your data (hence the hashtag #Not4Sale) or advertising, the site plans to profit by offering additional paid services, like extra data and bonus apps.

So what does MeWe do? Everything Facebook does, and more. You can share photos and videos, send messages or live chat. You can also attach voice messages to any of your posts, photos, or videos, and you can create Snapchat-like disappearing content.

You can also sync your profile to stash content in your personal storage cloud. Everything you post is protected, and you can fine-tune the permission controls so that you can decide exactly who gets to see your content and who doesn’t – “no creepy stalkers or strangers.”

MeWe is available for Android, iOS, desktops, and tablets.

This story was originally published in January 2016, but the social network suddenly appears to be gaining traction.

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Social Media

How to spot if your SEO, PPC, social media marketing service provider is a con-artist

(BUSINESS) When hiring a professional, did you know there are actual questions you can ask to spot a con-artist? Too often, we trust our guts and go with the gregarious person, but too much is on the line to keep doing that with your business.

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In this day and age the cult of positive thinking and “the law of attraction” are still very much alive and well in the business services industry. Here are a few simple questions that you can ask prospective business service providers to help you gauge if they are the real deal or just caught up in the fad of “say yes to everything,” or “outsource everything” being populated online by countless “thought leaders” and cult gurus.

Lots of people will ask, “What’s the harm of people trying to make something of themselves?”

Well, I’m here to tell you there is a huge harm in taking risks with a client’s money and manipulating people into trusting their “expertise” when they have none.

Business owners: Due diligence is more important than ever these days.

There are whole communities of people helping to prop each-other up as experts in fields they know nothing about while outsourcing their tasks with little or no oversight into the actual work being done on your behalf.

It is nearly impossible for you to tell if this is even going on. Don’t worry. I am here to help you avoid a con-artist.

How? By showing you how to weed out the bad actors by asking really simple questions.

This set of questions is perfect for people who need to distinguish if the expert they are talking is really just an expert in bullshit with a likeable personality.

Why do these questions work? Because people who are into this kind of stuff are rarely hesitant to talk about it when you ask them direct questions. They believe that what they are doing is a good thing and so they are more open to sharing this information with you because they think by you by asking that you are also into similar things.

It is a fun little trick I picked up while learning to do consumer polling and political surveying.

The Questions:

  • Who influences you professionally?
  • Do you follow any “thought leaders” “gurus” or coaches? If so, who?
  • What “school” of thought do you ascribe to in your profession, and where do you learn what you know?
  • Are there any industry standards you do not agree with?
  • How do you apply the services you offer to your own company?
  • Can you please tell me the background of your support staff and can I see their CV’s?
  • Do you outsource or white label any of the work your company does?
  • May we audit your process before buying your services?
  • May we discuss your proposed strategies with others in your industry to ensure quality?
  • Would you be open to speaking with an independent consultant that is knowledgeable about your industry about your proposals?
  • Can you show me examples of your past successful jobs?
  • Do you have any industry accepted certifications and how many hours of study do you do in a year to keep your knowledge up-to-date and current?
  • How many clients have you had in the past?
  • How many clients do you have currently?
  • How many clients are you able to handle at one time?
  • How many other clients do you have that are in the same industry as my company?
  • How long is your onboarding process before we start getting down to actually making changes to help solve the issues my company is facing?
  • Can you explain to me the steps you will take to identify my company’s needs?
  • Have you ever taken a course in NLP or any other similar course of study?
  • Have you ever been a part of a Multi-Level Marketing company?
  • Fun. Right? Well, we aren’t done.

    It is not just enough to ask these questions… you have to pay attention to the answers, as well as the WAY they are answering questions.

    And you also have to RESEARCH the company after you get your answers to make sure they ring true.

    You cannot keep accepting people at face value, not when the risk is to your business, employees, and clients. There is little to no risk for a person who is being dishonest about their capabilities and skill sets. They will walk away with your money, ready to go find another target for a chance meeting that seems amazingly perfect.

    Do not leave your business decisions to chance encounters at networking events. Research before saying yes.

    No matter how likeable or appealing the person you are speaking with is.

    How do you research? Easy. THE INTERNET. Look at the website of the company you are considering working with.

    • Does it look professional? (do not use your website as a standard for professional unless you have had it done by a professional)
    • Can you see a list of their past clients?
    • Do they effectively tell their story as a company or are they just selling?
    • What do their social media profiles look like? Do they have many followers? Are they updated regularly?
    • Do they have any positive reviews on social sites? (Yelp, Facebook, Linkedin, etc)

    You can also do some simple things like running SEO Website Checkers on their websites. There are tons of these online for free and they will give you a pretty good indicator of if they are using best practices on their websites – you can even do this research on their clients’ websites.

    Also, if you know anything about SpyFu, you can run their website through that to see how they are doing their own online marketing (the same can be said for their clients if they are selling this service).

    Facebook also has a cool section that shows you ads that a Page is running. You can find this info connected to their business Page as well as the Pages they manage for their clients as well. None of these things automatically disqualify a potential service provider, but their answers the question of “why” things are the way there are might be very illuminating to you as a business owner.

    This may seem like a lot of work, and it can be if you do not do these things regularly and have them down to a system, but the cost of not doing these things is way too high. A con-artist is born every day, thanks to the internet.

    You have a right as a business owner considering services from a vendor to ask these questions.

    They also have the responsibility as a service provider to answer these questions in a professional manner. Sometimes the way in which they answer the questions is far more important than the actual answer.

    If all of this seems too overwhelming for you to handle, that is okay.

    • You can ask one of your staff in your company to take on this role and responsibility.
    • You can hire someone to come in and help you with these decisions (and you can ask them all the same questions as above before taking their services).
    • You can reach out to other business owners in your network to see if they have recommendations for someone who could help you with things.
    • Heck, you can even call up companies that look like they are doing as well as you want to be doing online and ask them who they are using for their services. Try successful companies in other industries as your competitor won’t likely be interested in sharing their secrets with you…

    What is important is that you are asking questions, researching, and ultimately making sure that you are doing as much as possible to ensure making the best decision for your company.

    Final thoughts:

    “But, Jay, what’s wrong with taking a risk on an up-and-comer?”

    The answer to that is NOTHING. There is nothing wrong with taking a chance on someone. Someone being green doesn’t make them a con-artist.

    The issue I am raising is in the honest portrayal of businesses and their capabilities. It is about honesty.

    I am a huge fan of working with people who are new and passionate about an industry. But I only work with people who are honest with me about who they are, what they can do, and how their processes work.

    I have worked with tons of people who are still learning on the job. It can be quite educational for a business owner as well.

    Just make sure they are being honest about everything up front. You are no obligated to give anyone a chance when it comes to your businesses success, and it’s not right that someone might manipulate you into doing so.

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Social Media

Facebook struggles to regulate itself (but better – regulators are salivating for their chance)

(MEDIA SPOTLIGHT) Facebook is being called to the carpet by another nation’s regulators, and if they can’t put users first, the weight of international regulations could destroy all that they’ve built.

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Regulations are likely headed Facebook’s way unless the company embraces change. Facebook erroneously (and we believe purposely) calls themselves as a tech company rather than a media company to skirt federal and international regulations. After an inquiry with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Facebook countered that people instead of regulators should have the power to decide what’s seen on their news feed.

Is this true?

The Facebook news feed is constructed through the company’s algorithms, catering to ad content and suggested posts. In its response to the ACCC, Facebook stated that 98% of its revenue comes from selling ads per the Audience Network publishers and advertisers.

Many of us can agree our feeds clog up quite easily — sometimes I have to fish to see posts from the people I care about. “Deciding what I want to see” is a nebulous phrase which at times has me choking on Bored Panda content because I enjoyed ONE video. ONE.

Although the ACCC’s findings did not conclude any inappropriate market use by Facebook, the report suggested policy changes. Facebook has agreed to partner with regulators to create suitable policies to control the flow of unwarranted news and advertising.

The company is still resisting any government regulation.

Here’s the space between a rock and a hard place. As long as Facebook is a prominent source of news and content, governments will swoop in to try to tame the social media beast, and their idea of regulation may lead to a slippery slope in regards to free expression.

The pressure is on Facebook and other social media platforms to stop the bleeding themselves. For now. Policy change from within the company is the safest road to harmony between those of us who just want to see memes from friends and the empty rage articles claiming newsworthy content.

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