7 Ways to Not Be a Jerk on Pinterest . Blog Better

July 24, 2012 separator Blogging

I love hearing your tips and your thoughts on this post – still going strong two years after I wrote it! Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Remember, these are my suggestions for “best practices,” so take them with a grain of salt from a blogger. 🙂

The image below is what my Pinterest page used to look like. It was packed full of pretty, inspiring images, painstakingly curated over time. After some issues with Pinterest’s terms of use (TOU), though, I decided to delete all my pins and leave my account idle for awhile. If you’re interested, you can find out more on why I quit Pinterest. The comments have some great discussion on the topic, so read through the whole shebang before you decide anything one way or another. And to address a few comments on that post, I’ll point out that I never did delete my account. I deleted all my pins, but I kept the account open so that I could hang on to my username. 
Did you read it? Okay, good. 
After all the buzz about their TOU started to surface, Pinterest sent out an email about their updated terms and the efforts they’d made to be responsive to their users. They’ve made some positive changes addressing some of my major concerns, like the selling of pinned images, and they acknowledge that their efforts are a work in progress, which I appreciate. 
So I started pinning again. Carefully. 
Here’s what my Pinterest main page looks like now (after the jump). It’s a major work in progress, as I haven’t been back at it for very long, and I’m only pinning very politely. 
Nobody (except spammers, of course!) is intentionally rude on Pinterest, but it happens anyway. Find out my seven tips for not being a jerk after the jump. 

1.   Never, never, never pin anything from Google Image Search. If you search for something, like a faux sushi cake, for example, on Google, you’ll get a page of pretty images – the answer to all your searching. Before you pin, however, you need to click through to the source of the image. If you pin off the Google Image Search page, the creator of the image will never get credit for your pin. 
2.   Only pin from a blog’s homepage if you’re pinning the entire blog. Otherwise, click through to the actual, specific post that you want to pin. If you see a tutorial you like on the front page of a blog, and then you pin it right then, without clicking through, then three weeks from now, people who click your pin (or repins of your pin), will go to the front page. And that tutorial isn’t on it anymore. Bummer. 
3.   Give credit where credit is due. Whenever I pin something from another blog, I always finish the pin with “by SF Girl by Bay,” by Katie at Lemon Jitters,” from Liz at Say Yes to Hoboken,” etc. You get the idea. Lots of times, when people repin something, they leave your original caption intact. Make sure that it’s something that calls out the hard work of the blogger who created it! You can even tag them using the @ if you know their Pinterest username. 
4.   Before you repin, click through to make sure the pin links back to the original source. I don’t repin anything from a roundup or a feature link from another blog. I follow the trail back until I find the person who created the image. If I can’t find it, then I don’t pin it. 
5.   Don’t give away the whole mystery in a pinned image. If somebody has a tutorial, and you want to pin it, pin a main image – not a collage of the whole step-by-step. Likewise, if somebody has a brilliant idea, like the sushi cake example again (because all my ideas just brilliant, right?! ha), caption the image with something descriptive, like “Easy Sushi Birthday Cake Tutorial by Shrimp Salad Circus.” Do not caption it with “Turn a regular birthday cake into a sushi cake using orange Jell-o eggs, green Fruit Roll-Ups, and shredded coconut.” When you leave that sort of caption, anybody who sees the pin can recreate the project right then and there. Likewise, if somebody has a single image that shows all the steps or an entire recipe, be a dear, and don’t pin that one. You should leave a bit of mystery so that there’s a reason to click the pin and visit the original post. 
6.   Likewise, don’t give it all away in the caption of a pin, either. If you pin the finished product of a tutorial of recipe, that’s wonderful. But if you pin the finished product and then copy/paste the full step-by-step or recipe in the caption, you’ve created the same problem as in Step 5. A safe rule of thumb for a pin caption: [Title of Project] by [Creator of Project], like “Faux Sushi Birthday Cake by Shrimp Salad Circus. You can even add adjectives, like amazing, easy, realistic, etc. Just don’t add the secret, post-only pieces!
7.   Never pin an image you upload yourself, unless you link to the original URL. You’ve noticed by now that you can load your own image to Pinterest and then specify a website. Don’t do this. Almost ever. It leaves an annoying “uploaded by user” in the ‘source’ portion of the pin. If you have to upload the image yourself, and it’s not yours, then you probably shouldn’t do it. 
Bonus.   Don’t pin anybody’s work unless you know they’re okay with it. This one’s a bit more difficult to discern, which is why it’s a ‘bonus.’ One of my biggest reasons for leaving Pinterest when I did was the ‘permission by owner’ issue. Of course you don’t have permission to pin somebody’s work. That would take time and premeditation, which Pinterest really doesn’t encourage, right? How do I get around this? I only pin work on blogs if they:
     a.   Have a ‘Pin This’ button (which I do, so pin away, friends!)
     b.   Have a Pinterest account where they pin their own work. 
If they meet neither of these criteria, then I assume they don’t want their work pinned. Lots of people still pin from all over the place, but if you do, please take these tips into account. 


How do you pin politely? Leave your suggestions for ‘not being a jerk on Pinterest‘ in the comments! 


  1. The credit for my successful Pinterest account goes to PinPinterest. I used to spend a lot of time on Pinterest and still, I was not able to get a decent amount of followers. For the first time, I used PinPinterest for my Pinterest account automation, and it became the savior of my sinking account. Within a few weeks, I got a lot of active followers, thanks to PinPinterest.

  2. Ty I defiantly got a lot of information which is fantastic some like posting my own art I need to really sort out,
    Appreciate the information

    1. I wrote in google search – “Smiley face pinterest” I looked through all boards, but my board was not there. Does this mean that my board is frozen and how long it will last? Thank you!

      1. With my board preponed about 100 pictures with smiles November 14 – it may be the cause of freezing and for how long frozen will be continued? Thank you very much =)

  3. 7 Ways To Take All Day To Pin One Post!!! So we have to look all over the place for the original source of something? If we repin something, check the link goes back to the main URL, if it doesn’t try to track it down…? I’m a Pinterest user, not a Detective!

    A few I follow, most of the time. But a few I don’t! I’ve never had any problems with my followers for it, and have about 1,500 followers who seem perfectly happy.

    The other nonsense tips are; 1/ Don’t pin too many at one time. (I’ll pin however many I want), and 2/ Don’t pin lots of random subjects at one time. (I have many boards, and I’ll pin what I like to them when I like!) If I lose followers over those, then so be it! And I might add, I never do!!

    1. Hi Nicola. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your opinion on the subject. This post was intended to create a dialog, and it’s definitely accomplished that. I’m glad that you don’t have any trouble with losing followers.

      These tips are intended more to be best practices than hard-and-fast rules. I will say that as a content-creator, however, I think it’s important to be respectful of the projects or art that someone has taken time to create and share. That’s why I find it troubling when a pin that has been shared hundreds of times links to Google Image Search instead of crediting the person who created it.

      P.S. I love Jensen Ackles, too! 😉

  4. Stop complaining and trying to “teach” the “proper” way for people to use their Pinterest boards. If you don’t like the way they pin, then don’t follow them.

    1. Fortunately, that’s the beauty of social media. You make a great point; I don’t have to follow anyone I don’t want to. Regarding this topic, however, I’m coming from the perspective of somebody who appreciates when my own work and the work of other bloggers or artists are properly credited.

  5. Why are there so many people who like to think of themselves as the Emily Post or Miss Manners on etiquette for Pinterest

  6. Why are there so many people who like to think of themselves as the Emily Post or Miss Manners on etiquette for Pinterest

  7. Great post and I really try to follow all of these rules so that I’m not a jerk! I would like to add a couple of “rules” as well. 1) Please make sure you are posting to the correct board. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be looking for crafting ideas and I come across a recipe for something. 2)If a pin relates to several of your boards, please, please, please for the love of God, DO NOT pin it to all of them!! Pick the one that is most relevant and move on. I get really tired of looking at 4,5,6 pins in a row being the same thing!!

  8. This is great advise to Pinners. I hate when I click on an image in Pinterest and it doesn’t take me to the post. Why Pin it it the first place?

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to following your blog!

    ~ Darlene

  9. When pinning to a Pinterest community board, only pin things that are appropriate for that board. If it a craft and recipe board, don’t pin political statements and things that are of your interest. Find a community board that deals with that subject matter. It’s very frustrating to those that use the board appropriately.

  10. This is such useful information! On my on blog – http://www.averycuirouswedding.com – I always get permission from the copyright owner before posting any images, DIY’s, etc. It’s only fair to the people who have put in all the hard work creating. I’m new to Polyvore and will take care with my pins!! Thanks 🙂

  11. These are great. I would add: don’t leave comments on pins that are rude or stupid. People say the dumbest things in the comments. Oh, and don’t catagorize someone else’s boards. People do that to me a lot and if I wanted them catagorized, I’d do it myself. So annoying. Great tips!

  12. Great tips. Some of them I practice and some are new to me. I agree with Lindsay @ Hello Hue about not creatig a DIY pin from a product someone is trying to sell. If I were the seller that would bother me.

  13. Uuuuugh! I *hate* when I click on something that looks awesome on Pinterest, and it takes me to a blog where it’s “Look what I found”… and then I have to click on the link to that awesome thing that they had found somewhere else, which leads me to another list of “look what I found!” and… on and on and on. Eventually, I find the original effing blog, and am usually by then just super annoyed.

    I also despise having to find the correct blog entry because the homepage had been pinned instead of the actual entry. Sigh.

  14. Oh my goodness, THANK YOU for posting this!! I’m a new reader and am so glad I found your blog! 🙂 I can’t tell you how many times I’ve trolled through blogs looking for a specific image only to never find it! Now I just have to make sure I don’t have any jerky pins hanging out on my pinterest boards! ha!

  15. Awesome, I totally agree with all of your points! The Bonus one is important too; there can be whole debates about “Well don’t put it on your blog if you don’t want it in public” etc. etc. but there’s definitely something to be said for at least making an effort to respect people’s privacy and wishes about their photos or images.

    I actually just discovered that there’s a way to set a specific image to be “unpinnable”. I don’t use it for my own photos (I don’t post anything that I’m not comfortable with being public) but I do use it when I feature other bloggers’ work on my blog. That way no one can accidentally or on purpose pin their image from my site instead of from the source blog. 🙂 Here’s a simple tutorial if you’re interested: Prevent Your Photo(s) From Being Pinned On Pinterest

  16. This is brilliant and needs to spread around pinterest like a wild fire..

    Now excuse me while I go make sure my pins aren’t jerk status ;]

  17. I made the mistake of pinning some of my own work from the main page of my blog. Boy did I get heck from my readers for that! If a pin seems really, really worth it then I will search through the blog until I find the right post, and then pin it from there. I’d like to think that this makes up for my jerkiness from before!

  18. Great suggestions. I already follow all but one of them — the one about giving credit in the caption. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that, but I’ll start doing it and when I get a chance I’ll go back and fix it in my previous pins.

    I have another suggestion. Before repinning or liking something, check the link and make sure it goes to the right place. If it doesn’t, then try to figure out the right place and make a fresh pin from there.

  19. Took the words right out of my mouth. I agree wholeheartedly with each of your points, Lindsay! I’d also add that as an artist, something that really bothers me is when I see pins with “DIY”, “So easy to make”, etc. and realize that it actually leads back to an Etsy shop or other handmade shop. So, I would say —

    Only categorize your pins (either in the caption or on a board) as DIY if it comes from an actual DIY tutorial.

    Thanks for posting. I agree that nobody is rude on Pinterest purposefully and the more that people learn how to pin politely, the better!

    1. Right? Or when they say “delicious candy corn sugar cookies” but you click through and it’s really fudge. So, make sure the caption is accurate if you’re going to repin it with the same caption.

    2. Lindsay, I couldn’t agree more with you. I think that’s the height of disrespect for an artisan’s work. Thanks for bringing that up!

  20. i agree with all these, sometimes some of us are just too lazy to go to the post and just grab the picture from the homepage, lol … that really something if we have to scroll up and down to find the post. great post! thank you for sharing.

  21. Totally agree with all of these tips, especially pinning from a specific blog post and not the front page – SO annoying!

    Just wanted to add that if you do for whatever reason have to upload an image rather than pin directly from source (sometimes my computer doesn’t like the ‘Pin It’ button or url finder), if you then go to ‘Edit pin’ you can insert the source url in the Source box, which removes the annoying ‘Uploaded by user’ problem. Comes in handy if you are uploading your own work, so you can link to your site.

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