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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

Facebook releases Hotline as yet another Clubhouse competitor

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As yet another app emerges to try and take some of Clubhouse’s success, Facebook Hotline adds a slightly more formal video chat component to the game.

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Woman forming hands into heart shape at laptop hosting live video chat, similar to Facebook's new app Hotline

Facebook is at it again and launching its own version of another app. This time, the company has launched Hotline, which looks like a cross between Instagram Live and Clubhouse.

Facebook’s Hotline is the company’s attempt at competing with Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, which was released on iOS in March 2020. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported Facebook had already begun working on building its own version of the app. Erik Hazzard, who joined Facebook in 2017 after the company acquired his tbh app, is leading the project.

The app was created by the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, Facebook’s experimental development division, and it’s already in beta testing online. To access it, you can use the web-based application through the platform’s website to join the waitlist and “Host a Show”. However, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account to do so.

Unlike Clubhouse, Hotline lets users also chat through video and not just audio alone. The product is more like a formal Q&A and recording platform. Its features allow people to live stream and hold Q&A sessions with their audiences similar to Instagram Live. And, audience members can ask questions by using text or audio.

Also, what makes Hotline a little more formal than Clubhouse is that it automatically records conversations. According to TechCrunch, hosts receive both a video and audio recording of the event. With a guaranteed recording feature, the Q&A sessions will stray away from the casual vibes of Clubhouse.

The first person to host a Q&A live stream on Hotline is real-estate investor Nick Huber, who is the type of “expert” Facebook is hoping to attract to its platform.

“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community,” the spokesperson added.

According to a Reuters article, the app doesn’t have any audience size limits, hosts can remove questions they don’t want to answer, and Facebook is moderating inappropriate content during its early days.

An app for mobile devices isn’t available yet, but if you want to check it out, you can visit Hotline’s website.

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Brace yourselves: Facebook has re-opened political advertising space

(SOCIAL MEDIA) After a break due to misinformation in the past election, Facebook is once again allowing political advertising slots on their platform – with some caveats.

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Facebook open on phone in a wallet case, open for political advertising again.

After a months-long ban on political ads due to misinformation and other inappropriate behavior following the election in November, Facebook is planning to resume providing space for political advertising.

Starting on Thursday, March 4th, advertisers were able to buy spots for ads that comprise politics, what Facebook categorizes as “social issues”, and other potentially charged topics previously prohibited by the social media platform.

The history of the ban is complicated, and its existence was predicated on a profound distrust between political parties and mainstream news. In the wake of the 2016 election and illicit advertising activity that muddied the proverbial waters, Facebook had what some would view as a clear moral obligation to prevent similar sediment from clouding future elections.

Facebook delivered on that obligation by removing political advertising from their platform prior to Election Day, a decision that would stand fast in the tumultuous months to follow. And, while Facebook did temporarily suspend the ban in Georgia during the senate proceedings, political advertisements nevertheless remained absent from the platform in large until last week.

The removal of the ban does have some accompanying caveats—namely the identification process. Unlike before, advertisers will have to go to great lengths to confirm their identities prior to launching ads. Those ads will most likely also need to come from domestic agencies given Facebook’s diligent removal of foreign and malicious campaigns in the prior years.

The moral debate regarding social media advertising—particularly on Facebook—is a deeply nuanced and divided one. Some argue that, by removing political advertising across the board, Facebook has simply limited access for “good actors” and cleared the way for illegitimate claims.

Facebook’s response to this is simply that they didn’t understand fully the role ads would play in the electoral process, and that allowing those ads back will allow them to learn more going forward.

Either way, political advertising spots are now open on Facebook, and the overall public perception seems controversial enough to warrant keeping an eye on the progression of this decision. It wouldn’t be entirely unexpected for Facebook to revoke access to these advertisements again—or limit further their range and scope—in the coming months and years.

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Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?

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Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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