Pinterest’s PR Positives and Copyright Calamities

An interesting infographic from Lemon.ly, via Mashable. Click the picture to view the article.

I LOVE Pinterest. When my friend Mel first sent me an invite about a year ago, I was instantly addicted. The concept, the design, how easy it is to use, I thought it was just brilliant. As a personal user, I even actually attempt projects that I pin.

As someone who wants to practice PR, the fact that people are actually doing what they pin just makes me smile. The whole point of PR is to influence someone to do something and Pinterest is doing that.

The Pinterest craze among media outlets has been interesting to follow. At first everyone wondered what it was, then everyone became infatuated and then tech blogs kept talking about how influential it was and how it was driving traffic even more effectively than Twitter.

And then one of its most influential demographics found the flaw. Bloggers have recently become outraged to find that other Pinterest users are violating copyright by pinning photos without credit to the original source, even going so far as posting full recipes in pin text.

With my background in journalism, it’s second nature for me to check sources and fully read something before I pin. When I blog about things I find on Pinterest, I credit the orginal blogger, not Pinterest. Most users however, don’t.

A lot has been said on the issue of Pinterest and it’s copyright issues. One of my favorite food bloggers, Bluebonnets and Brownies, puts all the legal talk into very down to earth language here. She started a petition to at least get the pin character allowance down and emailed the Pinterest team.

Ben Silbermann, a co-founder of Pinterest, responded to her through email (you can view that in the same link, just scroll down). Silberman’s letter was respectful, written in a conversational tone and friendly. The limit was imposed and set at 500 characters. Gold stars in any PR grading book.

The day before that post, on Feb. 20, Silbmerann wrote a post in the official Pinterest blog about how site owners can also insert code into their site to prevent any photos from being pinned, allowing sites to “opt out” of the service.

These two small actions by Pinterest were smart both for business and public relations. They show that Pinterest is a user-oriented site with loyalty to its main contributors. Without the support of bloggers, Pinterest would not be nearly as successful as it is today.

This isn’t the end of all the copyright infringement headaches for Pinterest though. According to a post in Social Media Today, Pinterest could face legal ramifications in the future for knowingly supplying the means to infringe. While it’s not Pinterest’s intent to infringe on copyright, they are trying to monetize on the model, which is an actionable matter in court.

Are you a Pinterest user? Are you violating copyrights?

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Hello, World

LolCats. Thanks internet 🙂

Being the millennial that I am, I’ve always found social media fascinating and vital to clients and organizations I’m involved with. So far my favorite class at NYU is even my Social Media: Objectives, Strategies and Tactics course.

And then my professor for the course told us she wanted us to set up our own online footprint, as she would be Google-stalking us for our midterm.

And then I didn’t find the ever-evolving world of social media so fascinating anymore.  Did I really want my professor and fellow students seeing my tweets? My Facebook Profile pictures? My Google Plus Bragging Rights?

As a Peer Adviser at Seton Hall University, we were constantly told to keep our Facebooks clean, and it was never an issue for me. I remember thinking well duh, why would I put anything I don’t want seen on the internet?

But for some reason, Twitter didn’t get that same attention. The thought of all these East Coast professors and students seeing my every unedited Texan thought scared me.

A few weeks went by and I did as I was told, making my social media footprint congruent across all mediums, changing every privacy setting imaginable to “friends only” and sometimes “only these friends.”

I even created a second Twitter handle which I planned on using strictly for professional purposes.

Last week in class one brave soul finally asked the question I’d been internally wrestling with: “What if I don’t want everyone to see my tweets? Should I make two Twitter accounts?”

The professor’s answer was simple: “Keep your personal Twitter, just set it to private. All anyone will see is your about me sentence, which is the important part. As long as they see you have one and are active, that’s what matters.”

I actually voiced an “Oh! Duhhhh!”

I confessed to the class what I had done, creating the second account, and a quick Google search of my name proved my efforts to be in vain; the personal Twitter still shows up first. We all decided to go with the professor’s plan (she is a successful professional after all).

The point of all this is that social media, while it seems easy to use and implement for a company, is really more permanent than we think we realize. The Twitter handle I created sophomore year in college to use for rants, will never go away. Because of the activity built up around it for so long,  it will always appear first on Google, no matter how many other accounts I create.

We have to be conscious of the fact that we can’t hide behind our usernames.

This blog is me finally fully embracing that fact, and no longer being afraid of what is published on this site. If I can contribute to a nationally broadcasted podcast, I can share some thoughts on a blog.

Our forefathers went through the same dilemmas:

A computer? I’ll have to be responsible for something called the internet wherever dial up is accessible?

A cell phone? I’ll have to be available 24/7?

A beeper?

What’s a telephone?

A car? I’ll be expected to travel faster to meetings?

Smoke signals? I’ll have to maintain relationships with other cavemen?

What about y’all? How comfortable are you sharing your thoughts through social media?