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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 - she has 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

Instagram flaunts new features, including a decked out desktop experience  

(SOCIAL MEDIA) It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram with additions of Collabs, fundraisers, and desktop posts on deck

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Instagram displayed on a desktop

It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram on both mobile and desktop.

Collabs Feature

“Collabs” allows up to 2 accounts to co-author a post or Reel, both sharing joint ownership of what is ultimately published. The post or Reel will show up equally on both users’ feeds with the same amount of engagement numbers, but combined, including comments, view numbers, and like counts. This is initiated through the tagging screen and the invited account will have to accept the offer before the collab can be complete.

Examples of adding a co-author in Instagram Collabs feature

Fundraiser & Reel Features

Instagram was quick to jump on the short-form content trends taking the social media world by storm. With the rise of TikTok, the Insta platform that was originally focused on static photos added Reels, along the same wavelength of short 15, 30, or 60-second videos, though the competitor has now expanded with the option of 3 minutes. Even so, Instagram is taking the time to improve music-related features within the Reels section of the app, adding “Superbeat” and “Dynamic.” The first adds effects to the video matching the beat of the chosen song, while the latter offers unique and interesting ways to display the song’s lyrics on screen. In addition, they are beginning to test the option to run fundraisers on a post by clicking the + button in the top right corner of the interface.

Examples of Dynamic for Reels feature

 Desktop Feature

FINALLY! Instagram is now realizing just how many users truly enjoy the desktop experience. If one were to compare the platform on the mobile app vs. desktop, they would see the slew of differences between the two with the desktop interface looking like the 1st year Instagram was even introduced. Functionality is no comparison; they only just added the ability to DM on desktop last year. As one can see, there is an extremely limited experience on desktop, but Instagram is now rolling out the ability for users to post from their browsers. Catch us enjoying posts on the big screen!

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Truth Social: Trump’s long-standing battle against Big Tech backfires

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Truth Social is an example of how a new platform, though necessary to keep competition alive, can prove to be fallible before it succeeds.

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Man holding iPhone with Truth Social app download page up, as well as the stock market and Trump in the background on computer screens.

Former President Donald J. Trump announced a new social media platform, dubbed “Truth Social” last week. The platform has since been the recipient of cyber attacks by hacker collective Anonymous and the Software Freedom Conservancy has accused the Trump Media and Technology Group of violating the terms of their software agreement.

The circumstances plaguing Truth Social provide a small (if nuanced) look into the rigors of creating and sustaining new social media platforms in the modern-day. While expanding the number of social media platforms available creates more competition, this platform, in particular, raises some questions about the wisdom of investing in a service that creates an ideological echo chamber, as well as demonstrating that not just anyone can run a social media site.

There’s no denying that this new entry into the world of social media is off to a rocky start. Cyberattacks just hours after Truth Social’s test run left the site in disarray, with fake user accounts for Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump appearing at various stages of the launch. Truth Social’s hosts eventually took it offline, and the sign-up process is halted for the time being.

Woman holding iPhone showing Truth Social's feed.

Truth Social also has some interesting rules regarding user interactions on their platform, including a non-disparagement clause and the assertion that users can be sued for the content they post, Time reports.

“In addition to terminating or suspending your account, we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action, including without limitation pursuing civil, criminal, and injunctive redress,” says one section of the Truth Social terms of use.

This clause is in stark contrast to the ethos behind Truth Social – a platform that, according to the press release, was “founded with a mission to give a voice to all” and “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”

The disparity in messaging versus reality is an understandable mistake, as much of Trump’s mindset was most likely impacted by criticism levied against him on mainstream social media when he had his accounts – and anyone in the same position might reasonably make the same call. However, restricting users to agree with one set political ideology is a perilous precedent to set. Echo chambers aren’t particularly conducive to longevity.

iPhone showing Trump's suspended Twitter account.

The Trump Media and Technology Group also violated the terms of their open-source software of choice when they uploaded the pilot version of Truth Social. According to the licensing agreement associated with Mastodon – the software company TMTG used – users must have access to the source code for the product in question (in this case, Truth Social).

Since the initial users of Truth Social did not receive that access, the social media platform is at risk of permanently losing its rights to the code.

While some of these pitfalls feel proprietary to Trump insofar as his high-profile battle against social media is concerned, the truth is that any development of new social media entries will be messy and fraught with obstacles. Truth Social is just one example of how a new platform – something that is absolutely necessary to keep competition alive – can prove to be publicly fallible far before it ever succeeds.

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Instagram Collabs: New feature fosters the ability to co-author content

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram is rolling out a few updates, including a new post format called Collabs, giving users a new way to co-author feed posts and reels.

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Instagram stock images of collab feature.

Instagram is rolling out a few updates, including a new post format that many can benefit from. Called Instagram Collabs, this latest feature gives users a new way to co-author feed posts and reels. This isn’t the first feature Instagram has rolled out to promote collaboration between users, but we think it will be a beneficial addition!

How to use Instagram Collabs

Using Collabs is very similar to how you tag someone on Instagram. You can start by choosing to create either a reels video or feed post. After recording your video or taking your photo like you normally would, you head over to the “Share” screen and select “Tag People”. On that screen, there is now an “Invite Collaborator” option!

By choosing to invite a collaborator, the account you add will be able to share your post to their profile grid and their followers. Additionally, the names of all the collaborators will appear in the feed post or reel header, but before their username shows up on your post, the collaborator will need to accept the collaborator invitation first.

Keep in mind, only public accounts can be tagged and there is a limit to how many tags you can use. You’re able to tag up to 20 accounts, including the number of tagged users and collaborators.

Instagram stock photo of how to use new feature, Collabs, with iPhones showing the sequence of how to add a co-author.

Benefits of Instagram Collabs

Collabs makes it quicker and easier for everyone to share content on the platform. From local artists working together on a project to businesses working with high-profile influencers to promote their brand, content is shared instantly. Gone are the days of screenshotting or using third-party apps to repost that same content on your profile.

Along with making sharing easier, the feature makes it clear and simple to give credit where it’s due – all authors are given credit. When it comes to branded sponsorships, instead of adding hashtags or brand tags that can become cluttered, along with the user, the names of brands are neatly displayed in the header. Before this feature, it was a little difficult to distinguish a regular tag from a business, but with Collabs, that is no more.

And last, but not least, collaborators will all share views, likes, and comments. By sharing engagement signals, content creators will be able to maximize their reach and businesses will have more transparency with their customers.

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