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To Pin or Not to Pin

While I have been excited and eager to explore Pinterest as an admissions outreach tool for McMaster University, I’ve been coming across some articles which suggest using this site is definitely a challenge to organizations re: copyright infringement. Although the popularity of this site is skyrocketing, how can we ethically use it as an organization with policies that are intended to respect privacy and intellectual property?

I also find it interesting that there seem to be unwritten Pinterest etiquette rules which discourage self promotion. Does this fit within the outreach and enrolment initiatives of higher education institutions? I’m not sure. Initially, I thought it would be a wonderful new avenue for public relations tactics that would appeal to the female demographic which has naturally congregated in the Pinterest community. But there’s a fine line between authentic two-way communication and blatant self-promotion that pretends to be truly interested in the social media “conversation”.

I know that there are numbers of Pinterest users self-promoting, but is there  could be a ‘hard sell’ implication if McMaster were to use it as a recruitment tool. Perhaps it’s safest to stick with posting photos we have rights to, such as images of an alumni event. It’s probably a great tool for connecting with those folks on Pinterest who happen to be in the McMaster community network, but not likely the greatest place to generate prospective student interest.

I recommend you read: “Why I tearfully deleted my Pinterest inspiration boards” and “Pinterest: Trouble in Pin Paradise”  for more insights on this topic.

There are also considerations for bloggers, photographers or others with professional sites that are working at maintaining profitable site traffic. You can add code to prevent pinning of your content, which I highly recommend you research if you have concerns about search engines driving your traffic to your images on Pinterest rather than your own!

I like the article on Unmemorable Title “Why I’m Seriously Losing Pinterest” as a clear explanation of the hazards and offenses possible in this realm. It’s unfortunate that we can’t just enjoy our social media playground without serious issues of copyright infringement raising their ugly heads, but it’s a reality that must be considered. Not only is it a personal risk for individuals who click “I AGREE” without reading the Terms & Conditions, it’s especially dangerous for an organization that could be put at risk without proper evaluation of rules and regulations of each social media platform.


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