Category Archives: Social Media

Who owns the story? Pt1 – learning how to sell.

I’ve been having a conversation with Alex recently about the role of the internet, social media, and blogging in our lives – the good, the bad, and ugly   In her case, its internet behavior – she channels Emily Post like no one’s business.

For me, it goes back to who owns the story.  If many bloggers are writing about their lives and are marketing themselves (which many are) and if consumers own brands (which I believe heartily), then well who owns the story?

No one owns my story – at least now.  My three regular readers (I love you guys!) includes probably my sister and others that I’d tell the same things to, email the same pictures to, who are invested in the story but only because the story is ‘me’.

This hasn’t always been the case.  A long time ago, in a land far away (LiveJournal), I was involved in a clique.  For the people I knew, ‘the’ clique.  It was a ratings community, choosing its members by their writing, power struggles, and whim.  There were expectations of us, to write certain things and ways, to lord, just a bit, over those who didn’t make it but tried and tried again to get our approval.  And to some extent my story stopped just being about me but my performance.  What would ‘sell’ in Peoria, in LA, NY, and hundreds of computers in between.

I’m sure this sounds ridiculous to you, but what I was doing wasn’t so different from what a lot of other bloggers are doing now – tracking which posts get the most hits, comments, track-backs.  They do it for the potential cash (and yes, there are really that many people trying to make ‘it’ whatever that is from their blogs), and I did it for the ego rush during a bad time in my life, but at the base it’s the same.  We work on our marketing, packaging, and PR to sell our product (our stories) to the consumer.  And once it’s sold, well that’s where the problems are….

Pinterest legals and ethics pt 2 – ethics

So Pinterest ethics.  The biggest one is that it is so easy to take an image or idea away from the original creator and leave it either un-cited or cited to someone else.  That’s one of the first things they taught us in grade school, right, to cite the original source?

Not citing correctly sucks for both pinners and pinees because: a) everyone likes to get credit for their own awesome idea; b) it’s hard to find more information if you’d like to learn more about the picture/idea; c) it makes it a lot easier for people to… borrow ideas.  This isn’t just about Pinterest – Allison reports that she had issues before, but Pinterest made it like “trying to put out a wildfire one measuring cup of water at a time”.  Can you imagine seeing your stuff everyday wandering around without you?  It’s especially horrible because Pinterest is otherwise such a great source of exposure for bloggers and artisans.

So credit for original materials check.  What other ethical responsibilities do we have as pinners? Frolic suggests (though not specifically for Pinterest) that we cite not only the source but how we found it.  I have to admit that’s something I’m particularly bad at – mainly because I’m often not sure where I found the link (I’m a bit of an open tab pack rat) and that I’m not sure how to do so gracefully.  I feel like it would just be a long path of x via y via z, via a, b, c…. It’s something I’m definitely going to now try to keep an eye on.

Killa b gives several more suggestions on ethically pinning – going beyond crediting to suggesting that we should add solid descriptions and hashtags.  I feel almost though like that’s going a little too far – where is the line between promoting others and also making sure that Pinterest is working for you?  I.e. I hate hashtags, hate how they look, and don’t use them.  If I would never use them, do I still have a responsiblity to use them for other people?  I’m not sure where that line is and I think it might be different for different sources – maybe not for a picture from Anthropologie but maybe for a tutorial from an independent blogger?

Further reading:

My previous post on the legal issues

What if it’s private pictures you don’t expect to see other places? (Instagram)

definitely a topic for another ethics post – do you post an item for sale as a DIY? (do it yourself)

Pinterest – legals and ethics pt 1 – Legal implications

There’s been a lot of chatter about ethics and Pinterest recently.  While following the discussion, I learned some surprising things about the copyright rules and legality.

I’ve been following a long conversation about the ethical responsibilities of Pinterest – how to pin, how to credit, but I hadn’t really thought about the legal implications until I read this from DDKPortraits.  In short, Cold Brew Labs technically owns the copyright to anything you pin.  You can be held liable for anything you pin that you don’t have rights to and anything you do they can use. (if you want more legal details, definitely check out the link).

I find this particularly interesting since Pinterest is the new big thing for companies.  Everyone wants to be on Pinterest, being re-pinned over and over.  It makes sense – it’s really good, free publicity right now.  But for companies that are so  paranoid about intellectual property, it seems odd.  It epitomizes the issues that companies have sometimes with social media – they’re so desperate to be there and using it that they don’t think it all or even some of the way through. Notably, smaller places/individual artisans are thinking about these issues, so it’s even more of an oversight imho.

Pinterest is clearly aware of and interested in the use of it as a sales/influence tool with the release of Pinerly – a tool to track the influence and spread of pins. Pinterest also called DDKPortraits to get her suggestions after the linked post so it’s probably safe to assume that changes are to come.  (which is awesome since I’d hate to have to delete my own boards).

Pinterest ethics to come on Wednesday.  Until then, here’s some more links on the legal issues of Pinterest.

Pinterest calls DDKPortraits

Pinterest editing pins for (their) profit

Another take on the legality of pinning

And for a bit of self-pimping – my Pinterest boards