Q for You: How do you use Pinterest?

Q for You: How do you use Pinterest?

When Pinterest was young, I was deeply in love. Back around 2011-’12, when I also happened to be a brand-new knitter, it was an essential part of my daily routine. I’d log on late at night with a glass of wine, and/or first thing in the morning with my yogurt, scroll back to where I’d last left off, and wander my way upwards — looking for random inspiration and also (maybe moreso) for interesting people. In those days, your feed was made up very straightforwardly of the chronological pins of the people you had elected to follow, and it also displayed who they had repinned an image from, as well as any comments on the pin. So not only could you control what you were seeing by choosing who to follow, and could keep your place because it was chronological, but you could find and meet new people! I loved seeing who my chosen pinners were getting their best pins from, clicking through to find out more about those people, and interacting. Along with being lit up by all the beauty in my curated page, I discovered all sorts of interesting people with excellent taste, and met some of my favorite knitters and even one of my very best friends that way.

Then, as seems to be inevitable, things went south. From my perspective, anyway. A redesign a few years ago buried the community layer — no longer did the bottom of each pin in the scroll say who it was repinned from, comments were collapsed (and thus suppressed, activity-wise). If you want a pin to lead you to other good pinners, it now requires time and effort. The feed stopped being chronological and gradually became jammed full of sponsored or suggested pins, so it was no longer specific to the pinners you’d chosen to follow. Which meant it looked more like the old front page (the everyone page) and less like one’s own little curated world. And now they’re even collapsing the captions — it’s like they have a vendetta against words! Having worked in tech, I have no doubt they’re making data-driven decisions — they must have evidence that other people didn’t care about all that stuff that made me love it in the first place. I guess. But is that true? Or is Pinterest no longer the phenom it once was because so many other people valued it the same way I did, data notwithstanding?

The thing is, I still love Pinterest — or at least, I want to. I long for those days when I could call it up in my browser and know I was going to tumble down a gaping rabbit hole of gorgeousness, but I’ve been trying to find new ways to make use of what it is, since it’s no longer useful to me in the way it was. I think now I use it more the way it was originally conceived — simply as a place to store things I want to save and find again, or occasionally to search for something specific. I’m enjoying making my guest board for BT. I have some secret/shared boards for project planning. I’ve been repinning the whole site archive onto series-themed boards, and love being able to see whole series at a glance like that. (And hope you do, too!) And I still see a lot of blog traffic coming from Pinterest, so I know people are still using it.

But I am curious, and so that’s my Q for You today: How do you use Pinterest? What do you use it for and hope to get out of it. Do you look at it every night/morning or only when you have a specific need? What works for you, Pinterest-wise. Or do you use it at all?

I look forward to your responses, and also wish you a happy weekend!

(NOTE: The image above is a screengrab from my Yarny Goodness board. I have two Pinterest accounts — karentempler and fringeassoc)

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95 thoughts on “Q for You: How do you use Pinterest?

  1. Interesting! My feed is still chronological, and usually devoid of any ads or suggested pins – I aggressively X each and every one out when they pop up (I feel like this happens every couple months, but there are long peaceful stretches), and if they ask for a reason, I choose whichever option is closest to “I’m not interested.” So my feed on most days is still my chronological curated wonder. I do tend to look at it every day.

    As for what I pin, it is largely things I want to save and go back and look at later, but the mood board aspect factors into in a big way. It’s very visual. And I use the secret boards a lot, whether it’s for projects I’m planning or even more everyday things, like pinning pages that will be useful in an international move…

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      • I think you can only do it on your phone lol. I’ve pretty much stopped looking at Pinterest online since I can’t x out of ads there. But I didn’t know they would disappear. I’ll have to try harder. Lately I’ve been so disappointed with Pinterest. I feel like I just get spam from ‘based on your recent interests’ and not things that I really want to see.

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      • I haven’t seen one for awhile so I can’t remember exactly – it’s either an actual X or it’s a down arrow that brings up a menu. Perhaps the ads and suggestions function differently in Europe than in the United States?

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      • I just checked the settings, and under “Home Feed” options, there’s a yes/no toggle for “Picked for you” pins. Mine’s set to No. I also have both of the “Personalization” toggles set to No under the (business) account basics. Maybe that makes a difference?

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        • I’m so glad I read the comments on this post! The “recommended for you” pins were taking over my feed and I basically didn’t use a Pinterest anymore. I had no idea it was a setting I could change.

          Karen, I feel much the same as you about Pinterest. I occasionally go check out specific people’s pins to get some inspiration, and sometimes I save images that I want to refer to later. I also have a “Reading List” board where I pin images of books I’ve just finished.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t. I tried to love it before the redesign but wasn’t on it enough before it became chock full of advertising. When it became less user friendly I gave up. Instagram has that search feature that will show you pictures similar to ones you have liked. I use that quite frequently. But I agree, there is a lack of good places for inspiration anymore.

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    • I didn’t know about this search feature on Instagram unless you’re referring to the search page and the images displayed there? Because only a small handful of images are similar to what I have liked. Most of it is horrible! But I have my own beef with Instagram.

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  3. I don’t use it. Back when it started there was a lot of conversation about how the pinning system didn’t encourage citing or crediting original sources and I opted to not participate in that. Now, in today’s online landscape, proper sourcing and crediting is fairly rare and it sounds almost old fashioned to care about that on Pinterest, but I still do.

    I also didn’t like how it promoted a lot of the same-ness that you see all across the internet, with certain photos or looks becoming popular in certain sub-groups. It’s best when people share their own actual photos but the platform isn’t set up to encourage or reward that.

    I sometimes follow links to it but it has gotten chaotic and very hard to browse.

    So there you go, all my feelings about Pinterest.

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    • Well, the upside of Pinterest is that it automatically creates a link to the source, so there’s an argument that it was much better than Tumblr and blogs where people would just steal and repost images with no credit or link. There was a lot of concern about how easy it made it to pull people images onto Pinterest, where they were/are often taken and used elsewhere without credit, despite whatever link Pinterest may have recorded. And it’s also chock full of links to Tumblr images that were stolen/detached in the first place. It makes me insane when I see someone put up a photo credit that says “Image from Pinterest.” Pinterest isn’t the creator or copyright holder of any image. It’s definitely problematic on lots of layers, but I’d still say it’s slightly better than the rest of the web in that regard, since if you pin something from the web (as opposed to downloading and uploading it), it does create a trail back to the source.

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  4. I recently went into settings and managed to turn off all the recommended pins and adverts which were driving me insane, so my feed is much less annoying now (but doesn’t change very frequently). I mainly use it as a way to book mark sewing patterns I want to make (I use Ravelry for Knitting ones obviously) and tutorials. I have more stuff pinned than I’ll ever be able to make in more than 10 lifetimes, so don’t really use it for inspiration.

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    • I didn’t realize you could tun off the suggested pins and WOW what a difference that just made. But I don’t see anywhere to address the ads in any way. I’m fine with ads — I get that websites cost money and have to have revenue — but the ratio of them to the rest of the pins is pretty crazy, and they’re always totally wrong for me.

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      • I don’t know if someone already answered your question about ads. It is kind of sneaky. You have to hover over the lower right hand corner of the pin (and not the picture, go lower). You will see three dots appear. Click on that and you will see your options. For ads, you can choose “I’m not into this pin”. Then you choose which reason. Then the ad is turned around. I found that when I keep at it, there will be fewer. It is time consuming to do them all though. I usually just scan my feed very quickly and concentrate on doing my own searches through what I’ve already saved.

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  5. I often use it as a search engine, especially when I’m trying to get familiar with a new technique. Or for visual inspiration for new projects.

    When it was brand new, I fell in love with it too, but quickly stopped using it over copyright concerns. Once those got ironed out, I migrated back, but some of the magic had gone out of it…

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  6. I am new to pinterest, so don’t have any experience with the old format – you can’t miss what you never had! I like it very much, but the ads/sponsored pins are quite annoying and often off-base. So, like Dianna above, I aggressively weed out suggested pins, letting them know I’m not interested and/or I don’t like ads, which (so far, I think) helps keep my feed somewhat cleaner.

    I scroll through it almost entirely for inspiration and what I like best about it is seeing so much creativity & so many good ideas. But the flip side is that there is simply too much to look at! For example, the other day I searched for Brioche hats, not really for patterns, but just to look at samples, and was totally overwhelmed with a large number. Other than using more specific words in the search bar, I don’t know how to apply other filters. Thus far (and we’re talking less than a month of use here), if I want to explore further & find a pattern or learn more about a technique, & clicking through doesn’t yield what I need, I cut & paste the term & use a better and easier to manage search tool such as ravelry. I would love any tips for streamlining the feed and using pinterest to its fullest.

    Thanks for asking!

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  7. I loved it so much in the beginning too. I barely use it any longer for the same reasons as you. I go in and swear I’m just going to leave the ads alone and not waste time x-ing them all out….can’t leave them alone. Close window in frustration. :-)

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  8. I use it mostly for wardrobe planning. I save knitting and sewing patterns I want to make, and occasionally runway or street style inspiration. It helps me figure out what colors or silhouettes to focus on in my making. I rarely use the feed though, for the reasons you mention. It hardly ever shows me anything I’m interested in. So I mostly pin links to patterns, images, and blog posts from other sites.

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  9. My story would sound like yours. An early adopter and lover of it, I don’t use it for inspiration anymore, merely a place to store ideas I come across elsewhere. I only look at my own boards, not the feed anymore.

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  10. I only joined a couple of years ago when I got tired of having to find all the different “inspiration” folders I had on my computer (each filed away in a different logical place, naturally), and because I could never find an easy way to cite sources when saving image files. So I use it mostly for saving knitting and sewing inspiration, and being able to follow people and get their pins in my feed is a nice extra.

    I find that if I use it to actively seek out inspiration, via my feed or the related pins, I get stuck in these loops and only see things to my taste… which I guess is the point, but sometimes I want to see things I didn’t know I wanted to see, I want to be surprised.

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    • Yes! This! I want to see things that aren’t specially curated repeats and variations of what I already see. Talk about living online in a “bubble”.

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  11. I hope someone from Pinterest will see these comments. I’m going back to do the settings adjustments others have mentioned so I once again have a chance to see what I want to see. I still use it to save sources I want to share with my known followers, my family has Boards for Tried and True recipes that are always, nutritious, delicious, and not too complicated. I pin fashion looks that would fit my life and book lists to recommend to others for kids, fiction, and non-fiction. This is also where I keep tutorials for knitting and sewing. Then there are the pure inspiration photos. I too avoid the feed and just directly look at those I am following. More cumbersome, but less irritating. Looking at the feed, I cannot imagine why some are recommended for me and in cranky moments find the recommendations irritating since they are so off.

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  12. I have always used it as a pin-up board. When I see something I like, I save it on my pinterest. I don’t really browse pinterest, except for recipes or cosplay for my kid on halloween (did you know you could find a video on how to do Tauriel’s hair?) 😊

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  13. I feel pretty much the same as you’ve stated above. Used to love it and look at it every day. Once ads started popping up, being booted back to the top after every time I clicked away from a pin (and thus having to find my leaving point 756 times) and all the “picked for you” crap I just don’t like it as much. I still love my boards and find some good stuff, but wading through the flotsam is more effort than I want to spend.
    I love what my followed people post, though, (especially you) so that helps! :)

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  14. Becaue I came late toPinterest, I am not frustrated by the changes you all cite as I was never aware of them. I never look at anything but textiles, but it has greatly expanded my interests. There are many designers and makers whose work is not on Ravelry, which we must admit is, for the most part, an English language site. I have found the the access to photos of a broader range of ideas internationally to have stimulated my own ideas in new directions. As an example: an interest in embellishment, led me to exploration of sashiko embroidery, which led me to boro quilting. Seeing those pictures encouraged me to read more about those crafts and I am about to embark on my first boro project, having spent 2-3 months acquiring the materials. Another: for years I have been interested in the crochet work by the French designer, Sophie Digard, whose creations sell for many $100, mostly in European stores. There are no patterns on Ravelry, but there are photos on Pinterest in abundance, and looking at them has led me to other French textile designers whose crochet work is quite different form the American things I am used to. There is a summer crochet project percolating in my mind now as well.

    I am an old and experienced knitter. Many of the things that are being newly rediscovered by the new, young maker community are things that I have been doing for decades. I’m glad to see those things rediscovered and back in the forefront, but we all need new ideas and new ambitions, and Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration for me. (And just FWIW: I use instagram not at all)

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  15. I agree with you – it has become impossible to scroll through the feed and see friends’ pins – too clogged with ads. However, I still use pinterest all day long – basically as a visual bookmarking tool to create “virtual” bulletin boards. I use feedly to read blogs, and then pin recipes, wishlist items, home design ideas etc in pinterest. My favorite use of pinterest is actually to track books I have read. I don’t want/need a social component a la goodreads. I really just want a low-threshold way to record my reading. I absolutely love it for that – it just works for me, after years of failing to physically write that stuff down.

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  16. I rarely use it, and can’t seem to figure it out, perhaps for the reasons you outline. I use blogs and Instagram fro inspiration now, I guess. And of course, ravelry…

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  17. I just hopped on the Pinterest bandwagon a couple years ago when I discovered how useful it is for storing away ideas in a single place. Like Alice (above) mentioned, I was constantly copying, reformatting, and storing patterns and ideas all over the place and had no idea where to find them later, so Pinterest is a great solution for me. I keep my themes tightly controlled–instead of just ‘Knitting’ it’s knit hats, knit shawls, knit sweaters, knitting tehcniques, etc… I also use it a lot for trip planning.
    I don’t mind the suggested pins, and don’t seem to have a lot of ads (maybe I did something in settings at some point?)

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  18. I too used to wander through pinterest crafting boards, yet I realized how much a time suck it really was and then decided to avoid it completely, and started using more useful to me sources of inspiration, such as a ravelry and instagram (this just for the eye candy). I now only use the pin function to save pages I would like to remember in the future. It is now my library of sewing patterns (patterns I already bought, lest I forget I have them, and patterns I want to make), library of some of my blog posts – so I can quickly refer to them – and internet recipe library.

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  19. I feel much the way you do, Karen! I used to be on all the time, now there are a ton of ads and nothing is in order; I’m pretty sure I’m also not seeing a lot of pins from people I follow. I still get on there every now and then, or save things from the web. I’ll have to do as Dianna said and start clicking X on the ads more often.

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  20. I stopped using Pinterest when they did the redesign. Before that, I could literally sit for hours. It was such a treasure trove. I like to discover things that are completely new to me and Pinterest just does not do that anymore.

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  21. I used it last year when I was making my daughter’s wedding dress. We had a shared secret board for inspiration. We each posted and we commented. It was useful but I haven’t used it since. I had a MOB board too. Unfortunately my adverts still concern weddings and that’s off putting. I will potentially use it as I want to plan a mini wardrobe.

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  22. I used it to save knitting patterns before someone showed me how to use ravelry bundles in favorites. I also had boards for dream homes, recipes, traveling…

    I also went through a brief period where I spent too much time on it and became overwhelmed with envy and dissatisfaction when I compared my life to all the pretty things on pinterest. It was pretty unhealthy…

    For that reason (plus the spammy sponsored posts and broken links), i only use pinterest to look up old links. So now I pretty much only use my recipes board.

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  23. The way I see Pinterest working is that it’s just a glorified visual search engine with no community aspect.

    I also think the quality of the pins has dropped – it now seems to be all “click bait” trying to get users away from Pinterest onto external websites/blogs rather than the emphasis on “curating” which was how it was in the beginning.

    However, all that said I view it simply as a visual search engine and a place to store inspiration for my own use and it fulfills that role pretty well!

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  24. I use Pinterest to save and organize things I find on the web that I might want to refer to later. Basically as bookmarks for web pages. I don’t have time to wander like that!

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  25. I love my Pinterest Folder because it has exactly what I want to see in it: pretty pictures, naturally taken (rather than recolored, photoshopped, etc.) in the categories I love. I, too, love to browse at night before bed or first thing in the morning with my coffee. I too loved the sense of real people out there posting what they love. Here’s my cynicism – as soon as one of these fun sites goes for money, then its no longer about their followers (other than their followers as consumers), its about the people looking to make money on their investments. The stockholders are now their “customers.” Tumbler, Facebook… I used to love Tumbler so much but now with the bouncing ads, I can’t do it – and my favorite people left. Giving an opinion makes no difference because you’re not the customer any more. There’s now an angst to scrolling through Pinterest pages trying to delete ads and figure out why I’m seeing what I don’t want to see. Ugh! Yet, I get they want to make money for all of their time and effort and this model must be doing it for someone. Oh, wow! Here’s a platform to rant from that I’ve thought of for a long time now!

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  26. Although I understand the gripes you and others have about recent changes to Pinterest, I must credit it as a source of many inspirational images for my creative activities, especially earlier on. I have been using it as a storage area for images that might otherwise go offline.

    I too have noticed a decrease in “quality” of late, and have the feeling a large part of the community has migrated over to IG. Maybe I have that impression because I myself am more often there now. I only became active on IG recently because I don’t have a mobile device and IG functionality is limited on laptops. For me the two platforms remain very different. Pinterest has grown impersonal and IG is just the opposite.

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  27. I feel like I’ve gone through the same process as you. I was in love with it when it came out, because it enabled me to save inspiration and links in a much prettier and organized way than bookmarks (although I wish they gave even more options to save things in alphabetical order or with sub-categories) and slowly became less and less invested as my feed became more random (by the way, i just figured out a way to disable the “suggested posts” in the preferences. It doesn’t get rid of adds though…). Now, just like facebook , it just feels like an overwhelming page of random data, that may or may not apply (I get especially annoyed when the same pin that I already have on a personal board is suggested to me over and over).

    Nowadays I use it mainly for storing like you said, but also as a browser of sort. If I’m looking for a recipe, or a tutorial, or images for specific inspiration, I use Pinterest.

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  28. Answer: Excessively!

    I don’t mind turning my brain off and looking at random pictures. I really use Pinterest too much (I have more than 5000 pins and more than 20 knitting boards). It’s just a way for me to escape sometimes. 95% of the time it is a time suck. 3% of the time I can store and retrieve recipes. 2% of the time it’s helpful for planning a knitting project.

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  29. Your description of the ‘early days’ of Pinterest makes me wish I’d joined sooner! It sounds kind of like how I viewed Instagram before the new algorithm and ads – a curated, chronological scroll to see what others were up to and who they were giving nods to. I probably use pinterest more than ever, which is maybe a few times a week, and I find I’m mostly trying to capture detail and silhouette — if a RTW garment catches my eye, I’ll pin a variety of angles so that later I can study the proportion and what seems to really ‘work’ for me. I’ll include shots of knit stitches or garment finishes that I’d like to incorporate, especially if I’m torn on the direction I want to go with a project. I like the mood board aspect too, to be able to grab things from around the internet and then at some point sift through and reflect on what themes emerge, what visual direction underlies my impulses.

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  30. I look at Pinterest regularly (daily, if possible). I pin so much to keep – mainly knitting, sewing, house design ideas, recipes, and ideas for my job (leisure director). When I see something I love (such as Fair Isle), I click on the pin and, after visiting the page, I go back to the original pin and scroll down to “see more like this”. I can get lost in the labyrinth of “more like this”. I have way too much pinned to ever do but it is where I have my favorite ideas all together so I can quickly find them.

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  31. I also love pinterest! i can spend hours in my own cyper-bobel with one thing leading to 34 other things! :D I never used it for communication, but it sounds like it was fun for you!

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  32. I use Pinterest once a year for Halloween costume ideas for my kid. Instagram and Ravelry on my go to locations for inspiration. Although I have to say the ads on Instagram are starting to getting annoying. :(

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  33. I used to be there every single day but now it’s every now and then. I have several boards where I pin things of interest, and one board where I pin things I plan to use on my blog. I wish I could find a way to get rid of all notifications, it drives me nuts to get a reminder everytime someones pins something, guess I need to investigate the settings further. I had a scare recently when I could no longer log in and suddenly found my account totally empty – I thought I had lost everything but then realized it would not matter that much. Pinterest is a tool, not a goal in itself. I found everything back, but that little scare made me realize I did not care that much, really. But I like being able to quickly see the latest fashion trends and great knitwear.

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  34. Oy. I tried using pinterest, but what bothers me is that you can never find out where to get something. You’ll see a pretty picture of something you want to make or buy, but there are no links as to how to make the item or where to buy it!

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  35. Must confess that I’ve never managed to figure out how to use pintrest in a way I find useful, rather than time-wasty. Maybe it’s just not compatible with the way my brain works, I don’t know. But I’m sorry to hear about your recent disenchantment with a platform you were once fond of. I had a similar experience with flickr when it was redesigned a few years back, and have yet to get over it!

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  36. I’ve never joined Pinterest and I don’t plan to, mainly because I already spend so much time online reading blogs and scrolling Instagram that I don’t want yet another platform tempting me to fritter away my time there. I feel the same way about FB, actually, but their privacy violations also totally ick me out.
    I don’t know that my comment is at all helpful, but it’s my 2 cents!

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  37. You read my mind! I was only thinking the other day that lately I’m getting so many more ‘picked for you’ suggestions that it’s making my feed look so generic (there’s some really ugly knitting and florals out there). If I can be bothered I go through and “I don’t like recommendations” them, but that takes time and is rather boring and means I have to acknowledge them. As far as I can tell it’s still chronological and thankfully no ads. Yet.
    I basically use Pinterest sporadically to search for things and create mood boards but I’m losing interest in my feed as it’s littered with so much that doesn’t inspire me. Once upon a time it was a beautiful place to visit and scroll through to see what my favourite pinners were pinning. It’s sad that the origins of the pin are getting lost, I do hope no one is pinning anything of mine on there.
    Hope the Pinterest gods are listening and take it back to what it once was.

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  38. I don’t use it at all and never had. I don’t like how the interface itself looks or find this particular way of compiling images to be compelling for me as inspiration for making clothes or dressing. It’s cool to hear how many of you do find a use for it though!

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  39. I use Pinterest to save things that I’ll want to look at later. Last fall, I saved palettes that I thought I would translate to a knitting project. Of course, I save recipes. And I save all things knitting on various boards. So, I don’t think I’m particularly unique in my use of it. However, I haven’t done any of the discovery of people to which you alluded to in your post. I do look at boards of people I follow once in a while to get ideas how to organize.

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  40. Poor Pinterest, only look at now when I have exhausted IG. Pinterest is my go to for ideas when we need ideas for the grandchildren ‘s birthday parties.

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  41. I look at Pinterest once a day, but there’s really not much on there of interest anymore. I mostly use it as a place to store things from other sources. Most of my pins come from Instagram or Ravelry (I have a hard time figuring Ravelry out, for some reason, so I don’t store things on there). And I do X out all ads, too, because when I didn’t the number of ads was just insane, in my opinion.

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  42. So interesting to read everyones comments on this!
    I’m using it a lot at the moment, mostly for general, visual inspiration. I try to see it as a representation of my taste (? style?) and the things I’m drawn to. I’m also really specific about my boards and try to make them as cohesive as possible – which is completely insane, as it takes up so much time! But it just makes me stupidly happy to scroll and see all these images that just work together and have my aesthetic. Luckily I never get any ads (maybe I changed some settings in the past), but I do get annoyed when completely unrelated pins pop up (which happens often)

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  43. I checked out Pinterest in its early days and found warning articles online in regard to the user agreement. At that time, you had to agree that any images you posted could be used by Pinterest, a policy that might be problematic for anyone who was conducting a business online. The articles discouraged me from agreeing to their terms. I don’t know if that’s still a problem. I’m fine with Ravelry and IG and haven’t checked back with Pinterest. Occasionally I get a message that one of my photos is circulating on Pinterest, but I have decided that I can’t do anything about that–people find a photo in my blog and pin it. That’s how it is supposed to work.

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  44. I don’t use Pinterest as I find it cluttered with lots of the same. I mean really is a see another cut up t-shirt redesign I might lose it. I much prefer Ravelry or Instagram as you can actually communicate with the poster, designer etc.

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  45. I use it exclusively for visual bookmarking. I never got into the community stuff much, so no change there. I do keep one board for inspiring knits/ crafts, but other than that, it’s all links to recipes and my Xmas wishlist (it sure has made my family’s gift shopping easier ;) ). Wish my boards were prettier, but for me the bookmarking function is more important than the images, so sometimes I end up having to pin something not-too-aesthetically-pleasing, because I do really want the recipe!

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  46. I loved the idea of Pinterest when it first debuted — visual bookmarking and digital mood boards sounded right up my alley. The social aspect never did much for me. I guess I’m sort of an internet introvert? Anyway, I never figured out who to follow on Pinterest (even at the beginning, making all those choices felt overwhelming!), so I basically ignored the feed aspect of the site. And yeah, the arrival of ads and suggested pins made the feed part even more alienating for me. Unfortunately, the visual bookmarking aspect didn’t quite work out how I was hoping. It’s hard to explain exactly why, but the way Pinterest presents boards has never quite worked for me — I don’t have enough control, and it never felt fast and fluid enough. So I have a bunch of neglected boards that occasionally I’ll go through a random spate of pinning things to, and then get frustrated when I try to organize or otherwise use them and lose interest again.

    I occasionally (maybe 2x per year?) use Pinterest as a visual search engine, though as some others have noted, I’ve been frustrated that I often wind up seeing the same things over and over, and I don’t enjoy having to visually filter through all the stuff I don’t like.

    FWIW, I don’t use Instagram either, but that’s really Facebook’s fault. I am uncomfortable with how Facebook uses (and has ambitions to use) the extensive data it collects about its users, and therefore I choose not to use Facebook. As a Facebook subsidiary, Instagram has been sharing its user data with Facebook since 2013, so I feel like if my Facebook teetotaling is going to mean anything at all, it doesn’t make sense to use Instagram either (outside of following web links to specific photos, which I do from my web browser where I have extensions that block tracking scripts).

    Thinking about all this makes me even more thankful for Ravelry — independent, not VC-funded, owned and run by members of the community they serve, and they’ve been very transparent over the years about how their business works (they even wrote their own ad system, so ads on Ravelry don’t follow you all over the internet).

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  47. I have a Pinterest account/login, but I almost never use it. I pin sewing patterns that I want to find later, mostly because I haven’t found a good sewing equivalent to Ravelry (does The Foldline do this? I’ve never really put in the energy to figure it out). But odd as it might seem for someone who loves crafting to say, I don’t love getting information in images – I much prefer text. Like, I will read 5 articles before I watch a video about something. I also don’t like the extra layer of finding something on Pinterest and then having to click through to the original; I’d rather just google to begin with. ANd I’ve also never used mood boards – I see the point of them, and I feel like using them would provide good visual/aesthetic training, in seeing themes in what I like or consciously trying to represent particular themes/ideas visually. I am not very good at any of this, mostly because I’ve never done anything to train myself. But Pinterest hasn’t inspired me to do it.

    (The other thing is that I hate the Facebook-ization of everything where the social media provider decides what they think you want to see/what they want you to see. Just give me stuff on my feeds in chronological order!)

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  48. I used Pinterest as a relaxing aid. But now there are a lot of ads, which I will try to shut off. I am always startled by them which takes the relaxation element out of the equation. I mostly look for knitting and sewing inspiration and color inspiration. As an old Language Arts major I look for quotes. The ad component is a pain!

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  49. I was first introduced to Pinterest in 2010/11. The site really spoke to me — as someone who would cut up magazines and paste pictures in my journals as a kid, well this was the e-version of that! I began using Pinterest as a way to bookmark and “collect” images from around the web I liked. Knitting related, clothing, haircuts, home ideas, etc. I sort of drifted away from it for a bit, but I love the boards I put together then and how they really capture my interests and aspirations from that time in my life. In 2015 when I bought a house I tried to use it to search for design inspiration and projects but I found it impossible to link to the sources and find more information about the images I encountered, which was frustrating and pointless. I don’t think that’s neccessarily Pinterest’s fault, but the way people use it. I occasionally still use it to pin haircuts (both from Pinterest and around the web) and my stylist can see them as well. I turn to Ravelry and Instagram for inspiration and community.

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  50. I never use it. Nor Facebook. I deliberately limit my social media exposure. More time to think, design, and knit. I do make good use of Ravelry though.

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  51. I’m like you.. I’m not as keen on the latest front-end UX, but I still rely on it for cataloging images.

    It’s really handy for art history and slideshow planning. If you’ve ever read through an art history text, there are copious amounts of visual details, which, when reading can get tedious if there’s no accompanying plate. So I’ll create a board which acts as the index for the images, and I take my time to insert useful captions. In the past I have encountered many wrongly attributed images, so I make sure to always pin it from a reliable source, and make sure that my source is a large, good quality jpeg. (usually WikiCommons).

    I guess the final drawback would be… if Pinterest ever fails, it would mean that I lose all my research.

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  52. Agree, agree, agree! I was also an early Pinterest devotee, it was so inspiring and exciting to get lost on it , find new artists/makers to follow, new ideas…it was my early morning read and my reward for finishing boring tasks.
    I barely remember to look at Pinterest now, it turned into a race to mediocrity. And super cringey bad photography advice. It is better than Tumbler for source crediting but not much, my images are all over the place without any link or credit to me. I occasionally get them “Pinned for You” back at me without my name. ugh!
    The only time I use it is for secret boards for myself to remember visual ideas, or when planning a project with a client or stylist, we sometimes set up private mood boards.
    Thank you for writing about this- after reading the comments I turned off Pinned For You, that should be a happy improvement!
    (do I sound ranty? if so, apologies!)

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  53. I agree with everything you wrote! Pinterest used to be so wonderful…for all of the reasons you listed. The ads and recommendations are clutter I don’t want to see. I loved it because it was my own little curated world of things that make me happy.

    I have actively purged ads and recommendations. It has helped my feed but why do I have to go through all of this just to have what I already had to begin with?

    I know my own mind and my tastes so I find it annoying that Pinterest wants to curate my feed.

    I, like you, long for the early days of Pinterest.

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  54. I originally used Pinterest as an online recipe box, but I don’t cook much anymore. For fiber stuff, I use Ravelry plus my own blog. When I do occasionally wander into Pinterest, I find it completely overwhelming.

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  55. I use Pinterest to collect ideas in visual format, but I’m such an un-techy, somehow, I’ve never seen an ad on P! And HOME FEED ? ? News to me! But I’ve also never been able to get the Pin button to work, so I can only re-pin what others have pinned. Stuff I want to save and can’t pin goes to bookmarks. I mostly ignore the emails from P, but use them to click through to my boards since I’ve long lost my password.

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  56. The first half of my comments has typos that confuse the point I’m trying to make. Here is hopefully a better version:

    My feelings for and experience with Pinterest is nearly identical to yours. I was so disappointed when they removed the ability to see whom the pinner pinned from (that’s exactly how I found new people to follow; I haven’t followed anyone new in a while). I was a user experience designer for 8+ years and design was always a compromise between “business requirements” from the stakeholders and user experience, but some of the latest changes to Pinterest (and Instagram, ugh) make me wonder if either they don’t really consider how people actually use their website, or I’m in the minority in terms of usage and expectations. I still use Pinterest; I continue to have success with searches and usually get better results than with Google images. And If I’m looking for a knitting pattern I’ll just go to Ravelry. So, I still like it but I don’t fall down the rabbit hole anymore. More like a pothole.

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  57. I rely on Ravelry, and have pretty much everything yarny I own loaded there! I also have a pro membership at Allrecipes.com; that’s my go-to place to search recipes, and I can make collections in which I can store their recipes, my own recipes, URLs, cookbook references, etc.

    I use Pinterest like my own little reference library, with boards for various creative areas of my life. I don’t have the patience to browse through boards with gazillions of pins, and I prefer to pin from the original source rather than pinning someone else’s pin and having to drill down. I generally ignore my home feed, for similar reasons. So as you can guess, I don’t browse very often! As contrary as I am, I have seven followers, which never ceases to amaze me. :-)

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  58. I used Pinterest a few years back and then I left it until just last month. I too was turned off by the change in the feed, the recommended pins (how??), ads etc. I also found it to be a big time sink. I mainly used it during college for textile inspiration.

    I came back to it the other month for the boards feature, ever since diving into Anuschka Rees’ curated closet book. I was never someone who was too interested in fashion, or curating a closet, or even really making a pin board of clothes and styles. However, I’ve found the pin board feature to be very helpful in creating a tangible idea of my style and what I would like to make/wear, which has a direct effect on my shopping habits and has even simplified getting dressed in the morning. (I also drank the koolaid and read the Konmari book, and she mentions having a concrete visualization of why you want to have a house free of clutter; creating a private pin board of this personal ‘visualization’ has been helpful as well).

    I think if Pinterest revamps it’s layout and gets the shopping/sponsored pins out of the feed then it might make a comeback as a tool for creatives.

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  59. Yes! I agree with your perspective on Pinterest completely! I no longer use it go find inspiration but instead to organize inspiration I have found elsewhere. No matter how many times I tell Pinterest I’m not interested in sponsored pins or pins based on my activity, they just never leave. Thus, I rarely spend time browsing it the way I used to.

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  60. Although I still use Pinterest much as I did before all the changes, I find it to be less useful than it once was.

    Besides the fact that sponsored and shopping pins shouldn’t be in my personal feed, the recommended pins aren’t all that great these days. Easily half of them are things I’ve already pinned.

    I certainly spend much less time on Pinterest than I used to, but I also curate my boards more carefully than I did back then. Periodically, I go through my boards and get rid of pins for things I’ll never do, things I realize I don’t really like all that much, and pins that turn out to be repeats of what I already have.

    However, I did find Fringe Association on Pinterest, as well as several other knitting, sewing, quilting, and embroidery sites and blogs I’d never known about. Huzzah!

    All in all, I long for the old format. It served its users better than the current one does.

    P.S. Pinterest has the worst help section of any website I’ve ever visited in the history of EVER!

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  61. I was an early adopter of Pinterest and I mostly used it as a place to catalog pictures and links so I could see them all at once. I was a chronic ‘favorite folders’ saver–so much so that I actually used to screen capture images that I liked and save them on my desktop in folders–Pinterest was a god send for my organizational system. The bottom of my Pinterest folders still have some of those jpgs that I uploaded when I started using it, ha! But I definitely remember the days of waking up in the morning with my coffee and scrolling down to the place I left off to begin again :)

    I really hate the sponsored content and the suggested posts they have implemented, because I find it actually makes my feed really boring and repetitive. I still am a religious user as far as saving things on boards for inspiration, but I don’t spend much time looking at the feed anymore. Sometimes I use the search function for inspiration, or just visit the home pages of people I find inspiring to look around.

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  62. Upon the suggestion of my friend, Jennifer, I use my pinterest page to relay information to my overnight farmstay guests. I found myself constantly answering the same questions over and over, where to eat, other farms to visit, where to buy local food, favorite tourist spots……. I have created my pinterest page to sort of be a travel guide for my farmstay B&B guests. It has saved me countless hours. My guests seem to appreciate it as well.

    I do have a couple secret boards where I pin inspiration for my felt work.

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  63. I agree with what you and many others have said about Pinterest. I used to use it a lot, and I collected quite a few followers for someone without a blog, but that redesign really killed it for me. I even spoke to my son about it, whose friend used to work there. (I thought he still did, and maybe could get them some feedback.) I’m excited to learn that you can block the ads and “chosen for you” pins. I’ll have to do some exploring!

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  64. I use it a lot for work, but it’s ended up being more work than it used to be – before, it was easy to find content that related to what I had last pinned. Now, sometimes I have to search for things or scroll through different categories to find what I want. They have certainly taken a lot of the fun and community out of building mood boards and following people you find inspiring! I still use Pinterest almost daily, but I’m more likely to search for images than discover new, hip folks via Pinterest.

    It hurts the individual user the other way around, too. My first year on Pinterest I had 1000 followers in a little under a month or so. Now, I don’t even know when someone new follows one of my boards, and my rate of growth has gone way down. It doesn’t really matter, but it’s certainly not helping the individual users with the new setup.

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  65. I never knew Pinterest in the format that you describe. I use it mostly for storing recipes, and occasionally knitting patterns that I don’t want to take the time to look up on Ravelry and make a favorite there. I also use it to store knitting techniques (I pinned your top down sweater tutorial) I ignore all of the emails suggesting I follow other Pinners. I really don’t use it as a community. It’s strictly a library for me, and one I rely upon most in my cooking.

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  66. First, I want to say that I miss it being curated too. Second, I use it to save inspirational pictures for projects to make in the future (or projects I wish I had time to make in the future) or to follow the works of artists I love. I save technique links as well and recipes because food looks good! I still look at it everyday. I do get tired of seeing the same photos on there all the time and think “why is this here so much? Ugh, I am over this photo and want more new ones.” It is still nice as a way to search for photos of a specific topic that I can then use for inspiration for my drawings and craft projects.

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  67. Remember when you had to be invited by someone to join Pinterest? Lots has changed since then!! I see Brenda above described for you how to eliminate sponsored and promoted pins, but every so often Pinterest try again and deluge me with them but I take the time to tell them “I just don’t like ads”. Now I’m pretty much like you, using it as a filing system to save recipes, patterns, ideas on my various boards.

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  68. I pretty much use it as a visual google now. And for storing things I want to be able to reference back to.
    I like the fact that you can now pin to a web page that doesnt have an images on it and pinterest will just pick some of the title words on a coloured background for the pin image.
    Since I tend to store techniques and resources I like this feature as a number of the good resources don’t have useful images (or any at all sometimes)
    I also have a board to pin at least one image of all of the patterns I own, including the at a glance pages for the Burda magazines I have etc so that if I’m looking to make a specific type of pattern I can look here and see all the ones I have including my seamwork ones that I haven’t downloaded etc much easier than looking through all my paper patterns, magazines and online/downloaded patterns.

    I did find the option to turn off the recomended for me posts but found that they can actually be quite useful and wrt ads, I’m not too bothered by them, I’d rather have them mixed up in my feed so I can gloss over them instead of either having to subscribe or having popups like other sites do.

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  69. Pingback: Elsewhere | Fringe Association

  70. I know this is way past the post but I wanted to share anyway. I use Pinterest for outfit ideas, inspiration photos (landscapes and rooms, not quotes) for color and decoration. I usually will search for stitch how-to images that do not link to another site. I am really bothered by the suggested posts and ads. I get what I would call grotesque pins of images I find disturbing in unrelated fields, e.g. dental ads with close ups of teeth assigned to my Running preference. Funny enough, I discovered the Fringe Supply Field Bag on Pinterest last year and truly had never seen it before. That is a great example of finding something useful on Pinterest, rather than an ad on how to get flat abs. I believe the real Pinterest is still there you just have to work harder to find those jewels.

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