Pinterest is one of my favorite websites of all time. It's like a haven for crafts, hobbies, cooking, DIY, and random bits of information you never knew but really NEED to know, like how to get the stem off of a strawberry with a drinking straw.
Pinterest is responsible for over half of what I cook on a weekly basis, three-fourths of the projects I try, and 80% of my Internet time.
Actually, I have cut back on it quite a bit recently, but I'll be the first to admit that it can be a real time suck. My typical Pinterest encounter goes something like this:
--Hmm...I need to print out that recipe for crock pot orange cashew chicken.
--Oh, cool! I didn't know you could heal a paper cut instantly with chapstick! Need to remember that!
--Haha, those eCard memes never get old!
--Ooo! That's a great craft to do with toddlers that really IS both cheap and easy! We should do that tomorrow!
--WHAT?! How have three hours gone by?! I need to get dinner started! Now where is that recipe for crock pot orange cashew chicken...
So yeah, Pinterest gets a bad rap, but it's only because it's so awesome you can't stop looking at it. It's actually been a huge boon for bloggers, and in reality, it saves time because instead of combing through a dozen or two blogs, I can see topics and ideas quickly and organize them efficiently. There are several blogs that I have started following just because I realized I pinned a bunch of their stuff and would probably enjoy more.
However, just like Facebook, you can waste plenty of time there if you want, and also just like Facebook, there are a few rules that should be followed.
1) Don't pin more than 5-10 of any one thing at a time.
I know this is hard, and I do this sometimes, too. When you find an awesome board, you just want to pin everything on it! Resist! When you pin 50 examples of "your style," the rest of us who follow you have to scroll down for five minutes to get past all the pins of "shabby chic couture" to get back to the Oreo cream cheese layer cakes and five minute ab-toning exercises that we came for.
2) Use a permanent link if you add a pin.
There is nothing more frustrating on Pinterest than finding an awesome pin for Hungarian mushroom soup and then going to print off the recipe only to find that it just links to a picture that is somehow even smaller than the one in the pin. Not cool. Don't pin a picture from Google. Pin the actual link.
3) Don't post an entire article in the description.
Pins are supposed to be a summary. It's annoying when you have a huuuuuge pin that has an entire recipe written at the bottom. Just share the name and link and let people click to find the recipe themselves.
4) Do something you pin.
Obviously it is impossible to do everything you pin, but every now and then, try something! That way, you can give feedback for others and you might come up with some new ideas to pin! I have a Mission Accomplished board where I repin all the things I've tried, and it's great to look back and see what worked and what didn't.
5) Be nice.
This is actually a universal rule of humanity, but since apparently some people didn't pin this on their "Board of Things I should Always Do," it bears repeating. You don't have to leave an unkind comment and you shouldn't pin things that are inappropriate. Just be cool.
That's really it. Unlike most other online communities, the Pinterest community is pretty easy-going. I rarely see someone being unkind, and they make it easy to follow or unfollow people or individual boards.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go read about 50 things I can do with kale.