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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 now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?

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facebook friends

Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.

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TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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