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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

How this influencer gained 26k followers during the pandemic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Becoming an influencer on social media can seem appealing, but it’s not easy. Check out this influencer’s journey and her rise during the pandemic.

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Influencer planning her social media posts.

Meet Carey McDermott – a 28-year-old Boston native – more widely known by her Instagram handle @subjectively_hot. Within a few months, since March, McDermott has accrued a whopping 26k following, and has successfully built her brand around activism, cheeky observations of day-to-day bullshit, and her evident hotness.

“It mostly started as a quarantine project.” Said McDermott, who was furloughed from her job at the start of shelter-in-place. “I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do an Instagram for a while so I thought, ‘I might as well take some pictures of myself.’”

To get started McDermott, used a lot of hashtags relevant to her particular niche to get noticed, and would follow other influencers that used similar hashtags.

“I definitely built a little online community of women, and we all still talk to each other a lot.”

Like many popular influencers, McDermott engages with her audience as much as possible. She is sure to like or reply to positive comments on her pictures, which makes followers feel special and seen, and subsequently more likely to follow and continue following her account. She also relies heavily on some of Instagram’s more interactive features.

When asked why she thinks she has been able to build and retain such a large base in just a few months, McDermott explained: “I think people like my [Instagram] Stories because I do a lot of polls and ask fun questions for people to answer, and then I repost them”.

But it’s not just fun and games for @subjectively_hot – Carey wants to use her account to make some substantial bread.

“I’ve gotten a bunch of products gifted to me in exchange for unpaid ads and I’m hoping to expand that so I can get paid ads and sponsorships. But free products are nice!”

Additionally, McDermott was recently signed with the talent agency the btwn – a monumental achievement which she attributes to her influencer status.

“Having a large Instagram following gave me the confidence to reach out to a modeling brand. After they looked at my Instagram, they signed me without asking for any other pictures.”

To aspiring influencers, McDermott offers this advice:

“Find your niche. Find your brand. Find what makes you unique and be yourself – don’t act like what you think an influencer should act like. People respond to you being authentic and sharing your real life. And definitely find other people in similar niches as you and build connections with them.”

But McDermott also warns against diving too unilaterally into your niche, and stresses the importance of a unique, multi-dimensional online persona.

“[@subjectively_hot] is inherently a plus size account. But a lot of plus size Instagrams are just about being plus size, and are only like, “I’m confident and here’s my body”. I don’t want to post only about body positively all day, I want it to be about me and being hot.”

And you definitely can’t paint this girl in broad strokes. I personally find her online personality hilarious, self-aware, and brutally anti-patriarchal (she explicitly caters to all walks of life minus the straight cis men who, to her dismay, frequent her DMs with unsolicited advice, comments, and pictures). Her meme and TikTok curations are typically some of the silliest, most honest content I see that day and, as her handle suggests, her pictures never fail in their hotness value.

For McDermott, right now is about enjoying her newfound COVID-era celebrityhood. Her next steps for @subjectively_hot include getting paid ads and sponsorships, and figuring out the most effective way to monetize her brand. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases threaten her chances of returning to the place of her former employment in the hospitality industry.

With so many influencers on Instagram and other platforms, some might find it hard to cash in on their internet fame. But with a loyal fanbase addicted to her golden, inspiring personality, I think Carey will do just fine.

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Social Media

This LinkedIn graphic shows you where your profile is lacking

(SOCIAL MEDIA) LinkedIn has the ability to insure your visibility, and this new infographic breaks down where you should put the most effort.

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LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a must-have in the professional world. However, this social media platform can be incredibly overwhelming as there are a lot of moving pieces.

Luckily, there is a fancy graphic that details everything you need to know to create the perfect LinkedIn profile. Let’s dive in!

As we know, it is important to use your real name and an appropriate headshot. A banner photo that fits your personal brand (e.g. fits the theme of your profession/industry) is a good idea to add.

Adding your location and a detailed list of work-related projects are both underutilized, yet key pieces of information that people will look for. Other key pieces come in the form of recommendations; connections aren’t just about numbers, endorse them and hopefully they will return the favor!

Fill in every and all sections that you can, and re-read for any errors (get a second set of eyes if there’s one available). Use the profile strength meter to get a second option on your profile and find out what sections could use a little more help.

There are some settings you can enable to get the most out of LinkedIn. Turn on “career interests” to let recruiters know that you are open to job offers, turn on “career advice” to participate in an advice platform that helps you connect with other leaders in your field, turn your profile privacy off from private in order to see who is viewing your profile.

The infographic also offers some stats and words to avoid. Let’s start with stats: 65% of employers want to see relevant work experience, 91 percent of employers prefer that candidates have work experience, and 68% of LinkedIn members use the site to reconnect with past colleagues.

Now, let’s talk vocab. The infographic urges users to avoid the following words: specialized, experienced, skilled, leadership, passionate, expert, motivated, creative, strategic, focused.

That was educational, huh? Speaking of education – be sure to list your highest level of academia. People who list their education appear in searches up to 17 times more often than those who do not. And, much like when you applied to college, your past education wasn’t all that you should have included – certificates (and licenses) and volunteer work help set you apart from the rest.

Don’t be afraid to ask your connections, colleagues, etc. for recommendations. And, don’t be afraid to list your accomplishments.

Finally, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. You’re already using the site, right? Use it to your advantage! Finish your profile by completing the all-star rating checklist: industry and location, skills (minimum of three), profile photo, at least 50 connections, current position (with description), two past positions, and education.

When all of this is complete, continue using LinkedIn on a daily basis. Update your profile when necessary, share content, and keep your name popping up on peoples’ timelines. (And, be sure to check out the rest of Leisure Jobs’ super helpful infographic that details other bits, like how to properly size photos!)

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This Twitter tool hopes to fight misinformation, but how effective is it?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Birdwatch is a new tool from Twitter in the fight against misinformation… in theory. But it could be overkill.

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Twitter welcome screen open on large phone with stylus.

Social media has proven to be a blanket breeding ground for misinformation, and Twitter is most certainly not exempt from this rule. While we’ve seen hit-or-miss attempts from the notorious bird app to quell the spread of misinformation, their latest effort seems more streamlined—albeit a little overboard.

Birdwatch is a forthcoming feature from Twitter that will allegedly help users report misleading content. According to The Verge, Twitter has yet to release definitive details about the service. However, from leaked information, Birdwatch will serve the purpose of reporting misinformation, voting on whether or not it is truly misleading, and attaching notes to pertinent tweets.

Such a feature is still months away, so it appears that the upcoming election will take place before Birdwatch is officially rolled out.

There are a lot of positive sides to welcoming community feedback in a retaliation against false information, be it political in nature or otherwise. Fostering a sense of community responsibility, giving community members the option to report at their discretion, and including an option for a detailed response rather than a preset list of problems are all proactive ideas to implement, in theory.

Of course, that theory goes out the window the second you mention Twitter’s name.

The glaring issue with applying a community feedback patch to the rampant issue of misinformation on social media is simple: The misinformation comes from the community. A far cry from Twitter’s fact-checking warnings that appeared on relevant tweets earlier this year, Birdwatch—given what we know now—has every excuse to be more biased than any prior efforts.

Furthermore, the pure existence of misinformation on Twitter often results from the knee-jerk, short response format that tweets take. As such, expecting a lengthy form and vote application to fix the problem seems misguided. Simply reporting a tweet for being inaccurate or fostering harassment is already more of an involved process than most people are likely to partake in, so Birdwatch might be overdoing it.

As always, any effort from Twitter—or any social media company, for that matter—to crack down on the spread of misinformation is largely appreciated. Birdwatch, for all of its potential issues, is certainly a step in the right direction. Let’s just hope it’s an accessible step.

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