I've been thinking. And reading. And thinking some more.
While looking for something totally different, I came across a blog article about Pinterest. As it happens, I joined Pinterest recently after holding out for a while, and I love it! We've had to reboot our computer several times in the past year, and each time I would lose my favorites. With Pinterest, I can access my "favorites" on any computer, and it's even visual. Score!
However, one blogger's article got me thinking. She has a blog that gets a lot of traffic (think millions of hits), because she also has a business. She posts pictures of her children on her blog, and is uncomfortable with the idea of her kids' pictures being Pinned -- it's such a very public venue, after all.
I don't have a great deal of traffic on my blog, and most of the people who visit are you, my dear faithful readers. But since my blog is public, anyone can stop by. I'm okay with that, and have taken certain steps (not posting our last names, exact residence, or even the first name of our baby) to protect our privacy. Until recently, my husband and I were also comfortable posting pictures of our son.
But Pinterest -- that's a whole 'nother story. I doubt that anyone would feel the urge to Pin a picture of our child, but that's something I don't really want to risk. It would take a search or a sidebar link for someone to find my blog. It would take nothing at all for someone to see my child's face on Pinterest -- everything that's pinned goes on that main page! I don't have the ability to ask Little Man if he minds having his picture plastered on the Internet (even if it's just my little bloggy corner), and I desire to respect his privacy. When he's 10, or 18, or 36, he may not appreciate having his childhood available for all and sundry to observe.
I recently saw that one of my sweet readers Pinned one of my craft projects to her board, and I was quite thrilled! I'll admit there was a definite tingle of excitement to realized I'd been "Pinned." *wink* I don't want to make it complicated for my readers to figure out which pictures I do or don't want Pinned, so I think the easiest thing will be for me to only post pictures that I don't mind seeing anywhere on the web.
So from now on, I don't plan to post pictures of Little Man, or any of his future siblings. I'm not sure if that will be a total nix, or if we'll decide that "nondescript" snapshots (hands, feet, from behind -- basically, pictures that could be anybody's kid) are okay. I plan to leave up the pictures of Little Man I've already posted, perhaps with captions requesting that they not be Pinned. And I don't intend to stop posting pictures of myself, since I'm an adult and can decide what I'm personally comfortable with the whole world seeing.
I hope you'll understand that this decision in no way reflects distrust of you, my faithful readers. But I can't control who visits my blog, and not every random visitor may be as thoughtful as you are!
The article I read (along with several others) also brought up copyright issues that I had never considered. After thinking about this in conjunction with the privacy issue, here are my personal Pinterest guidelines. Most of them are "do unto others" guidelines, because I wouldn't want someone to do this to me.
1. Not posting pictures of other people's children without permission. I didn't even realize it, but I'd posted a picture of a little girl, because she was wearing a dress from a blog tutorial I wanted to save. So I went back and found a different picture sans child (If you're on Pinterest, you can get the little "Pin It" widget, so you can choose exactly which photo to pin). I still have one picture of a little boy, but it's a Pin from Etsy, so it's a "commercial" situation -- plus, the child's face is practically obscured by the adorable "beard hat" that is the whole point of the pin! Though maybe I should still ask...
2. Making sure that my Pins redirect to the original website. Even if I just like the picture and don't need any more info (such as instructions), I want to make sure that if you click on something I've pinned, it takes you to the website the picture actually came from. It's a little way of giving credit where credit is due. And no, not all Pins do that, so I have to check before I Pin!
3. Not posting an entire recipe or set of instructions in the Pin description. This is kind of like my previous guideline, in that you want the person who came up with the idea to get the credit, not to mention the blog/website traffic. Unless I came up with the idea myself, I don't have a right to re-post their directions. Just like I wouldn't post someone else's tutorial on my blog, but would link to it, instead! So when I pin, I give a brief description like "Peasant dress tutorial" or "Oreo cheesecake recipe." That way it's clear what I (or someone else) will find when I click on the Pin.
4. NEVER posting a picture from Pinterest on my blog. I could add, "without direct permission from the holder of the copyright." But chances are, I'll never want to go to all that trouble to post a picture that's not mine! All photos are copyrighted, whether they are watermarked or not. I would be upset if I found one of my pictures on a blog or website without permission, and especially without credit. So I don't want to do that to someone else, whether the person's a professional photographer or a blogger with one follower. I've seen numerous Pinterest pictures on blogs, and often they don't even have links back to the original site or the Pin. To my mind, this is not only illegal, but also inconsiderate. I just don't post pictures that aren't mine on my blog (unless they're taken by my family, or I have legal permission, as in the case of my wedding photos). If my blog post really "needs" a photo, I'll take it myself or do without.
What about Pinning others' pictures to Pinterest? There is some question as to whether Pinning pictures to Pinterest is legal at all, but I'll let Pinterest work that out. As long as I'm following my 2nd guideline and I'm not trying to take credit for the photo (and the owner of the material does not forbid Pinning), I can't see how there is copyright infringement -- especially since it may direct more traffic to the original website, which most bloggers and business owners are more than happy to have. Unless I see very clear evidence to the contrary, I intend to keep using Pinterest as a "favorites" venue.
So there's a not-so-brief explanation of my recent cogitations about Pinterest. I'm a bit disappointed to end up at this conclusion, since Little Man is by far my favorite photographic subject! *wink* But for the sake of our family's privacy, I think it's the right choice for us.
In other news, Summer has already arrived here in Florida, life with a toddler is delightful and challenging all-at-the-same-time, and tonight is pizza night. Oh yes, life is good! Time to get back to work on some sewing projects for a sweet new baby in our church...