Pinterest was an phenomenal idea of a social media website, carried out on a mediocre platform that is poorly executed and maintained, sometimes even pathetically. It has some growth and usage now, sure, but it seems Pinterest is already resting on its laurels and thinking it’s always going to be this way if its latest lack lustre update is any indicator. Here are seven simple and feasible suggestions on what Pinterest could really do if it wants to improve itself. These should be options a user could enable, rather than something forced on the user.
1. Identify duplicate pins in boards
How many images can you look at on a topic, the way you group images on to a board, before you’re no longer sure if you had pinned it when you see it again? It’s not as many as people think because I see duplicate images on boards rather often, and I do it, too. It’d be great if a duplicate pin was put to a board, that a warning would pop up to say so if the user wants to enable this.
- Pinterest could do this with a URL check against URLs already in the board. That may take a while for some boards with thousands of pins, but let the user decide to wait or not. It shouldn’t take long for most boards, though. if the checking routine is well programmed.
- Some pins come from multiple sources so it’s not foolproof, but it should be pretty effective.
- Let users still add duplicate pins for whatever reasons, or set to never allow.
2. Have secondary level (or sub-) boards
Pinterest is an extension of one of America’s big social problems, hoarding. Hoarding is not only collecting in excess, but also often comes with lack of organization. Pinterest is no different, with just one level of organization called boards. It does not take long to fill with hundreds or thousands of pins, before things become hard to find (if not labeled properly in text when Pinterest is a mostly visual interface). Just by having a second level of boards to group together would go a long way to alleviate the clutter on Pinterest for those who want to use it, like a bunch of boards under CARS – old, new, racing, family, etc. That’s how I do it now, with ALL CAPS titles, and regular text secondary titles, like “CARS – Fast”, but it’s not very effective to convey the idea. And all could be done without many new features for Pinterest to add!
- Have the new boards a sliver shorter in height than the main one (height of a current board title).
- In the sliver space, have lines drawn connecting boards, with connection indicated the way a category has a “mother” category.
- Have the sub-boards’ picture contain 4 small images, rather than one big one and a bunch of small ones as currently is for a main or “mother” board.
- It’d all just be a graphical interface. There’d be no need for other features to complicate things like interactions among boards.
3. Have board selection by keystroke as well as menu
Right now, when you pin something, you select from a drop down menu which board you want to put it in. It scrolls fast if you have lots of boards, but slowly if you only have a few more than the immediately visible list of a handful. It takes more time than it should, in other words. The way to alleviate that is to let people type in the initial letters of the board they want, and have the board choice/s isolated. For example, if I have 3 boards starting with “Photos”, among like 50 boards, with no other starting with “ph”, if I could type “ph” and get the first “Photos” board and however many after that in the regular menu, that’d be fantastic! Otherwise, I’d be scrolling from the first alphabetical board all the way down unless my last selection was from the same board!
- This technology, to combine drop down menu and keystroke override if the user wishes to type instead of using mouse on menu, is widely available. Pinterest should have no problems implementing this improvement.
4. Improve speed of re-pinning
Right now, when you re-pin, it swooshes in and out in a very elegant display that’s all pretty and such, but horribly inefficient despite the fact it takes just a few seconds. That’s because how many pins are pinned each hour? Each day? Each year? What if you could cut off 1 second off every pin? How long would it take you to save an average life-time of a person?
- A famous story similar to this involves Steve Jobs at Apple pressing his staff to boot up the Apple II (I think) faster. While it was already faster than the PCs, he asked what if each time a person booted up the computer, they waited 15 seconds less? 4 times and you have a minute saved. 240 times for an hour, and so on. It wouldn’t take long before a life-time is saved! Same idea Pinterest. Same idea.
- Pinterest doesn’t have a vested interest in doing this since website rankings are partly based on time users spend on a site. However, if Pinterest could learn from Steve Jobs, it’s ultimately where you set the bar that matters most, not where anybody else does.
- How could Pinterest make repinning faster? Forget the swooshing motion interface. Make it more immediate, like a pop-up. Maybe make the Re-pin button automatic if pressed so you don’t waste time seeing the enlargement. Have a View button for enlarging, though that may be big recoding they won’t want to undertake. Still, just make re-pinning, and even Edit functions, faster, cause after the initial viewing of the swooshing motions in the interface, time wasted gets old real fast!
5. Have better and more organizational features
If you have to move pins from board to board right now, it’s one at a time, several clicks, and several seconds between clicks… at least. The feature actually discourages one from doing so. But what if Pinterest had a feature where pins from two boards could be shown side by side, and dragged across one to the other. Better yet, have it so several pins could be selected (by Ctrl key and mouse selection or dragging border), and pins moved in groups! And within boards, maybe pins could be sorted alphabetically from accompanying text, or manually the way Facebook allows you to reorder pictures in an album. Pinterest has that technology with its board order organization. So why not extend it to a board so common pins, or pins with variations on a theme, could be grouped together? These features would also be useful to enhance other organization and reorganization features previously mentioned.
- The two board interface, if done, would be new so maybe that’s too much to ask for right now. However, the technology is already available, and Pinterest has some of it for organizing, or reorganizing, other boards as suggested.
6. Get a better objectionable content review process
Right now, if someone objects to a pin you have, they complain and are more than likely to be appeased as they wish. You don’t have a say in the matter via a no-reply email to inform you of the consequences, even when claims for things like nudity were not true. Trust me, I know. Trolls do crap like this to people and I’ve been victim to it. I don’t know what Pinterest does to review the complaint, but I can assure you it’s not enough. For starters, the reporter is sometimes wrong, yet gets away with it. In part, this is true because Pinterest doesn’t allow you to defend yourself. Their “Help” page to disagree is just a facade. They have never answered me after 4 tries now.
- If Pinterest’s objectionable content policy is clear, it shouldn’t require high paying staff to resolve these complaints better. Whether they choose to interact and give people a chance to defend themselves or not is their choice, but execution to judge objectionable content could be a LOT better than it is now. Just hire a few more staff to deal with the issue, or not make it as big an issue. After all, have you seen all the porn and middle fingers on pins on Pinterest??? The hypocrisy!!! They don’t take objectionable content to allow so much of it to exist, why piss off users with removal of acceptable content just cause someone is filing it incorrectly or by their own standards?
7. Do a better job to remove porn before it becomes Pornterest
For all Pinterest says and incorrectly does to keep porn from being on the site, it doesn’t take an expert to tell they don’t take it seriously at all. I usually like to check new followers I get to see what they have along the same lines that may have motivated them to follow me, or repin some pins, to start with. Far more than I can recall, I see boards with all kinds of soft and hardcore porn in them. What’s worse is that there is even text in the board names and/or the pictures to state the content is hardcore porn! Pick every porn associated word you can think of and it’s allowed to exist with said picture on Pinterest! Ironically, if you ever tried to search for some of those words, you’d get a slap in the wrist to deny you and tell you Pinterest does not allow such content! If you’re going to have such a policy and act like you’re serious about it, then live up to it cause right now, it’s all talk and gawk, but no walk! The hypocrisy is unbelievable!!!
- Pinterest’s porn problem is the most frequent criticism I see of the site online, so this isn’t me pointing out a new problem by any means. In fact, I left it to the end so I wouldn’t sound like I were just rehashing stuff right off the bat.
- I don’t think Pinterest is incapable of cleaning up its porn problem. I just think their leadership lacks a spine to piss off a lot of users abusing this policy, and deal with shareholders or whoever on loss of users, loss of traffic, time spent, social media backlash, etc. And why deal with all that headache when you might want to just sit back and enjoy some of the porn yourself? Good reasons not to clean up porn, don’t you think?
- So how would Pinterest execute this massive task? Well, send out a warning of wide sweep and consequential clean-up to give users a chance to clean up or face the consequences. Then enact the consequences. Do keyword search if you have to for a start, though not meaning to automatically delete, but review and catch the big abusers. If, say, 5 or 10 pins were found in clear violation, account is deleted. No chance for redemption. No questions asked. It’s not hard to recognize hardcore porn, or clear nudity of some body parts that defense is pretty much a waste of time. Just be sure you only flag pretty much indisputable cases. Hire a few employees to identify accounts for deletion as their job if it can’t be automated. It’s not a costly endeavour.
- For any pins identified, automate to look for the same link, or repins, and target those as next accounts to screen. If more than 5 or 10 or whatever number of pins are traced to that account, you can automate closing of those accounts as well.
- The idea here is not to clear all porn and objectionable content, just like 90% or more, and this solution should do it. Birds of a feather tend to flock together and finding the big abusers should be relatively easy and effective.
So let’s see if Pinterest will do anything about this
I wrote this post in good faith to share not only ideas, but also feasible solutions for the improvement of Pinterest, which I enjoy using as a learning tool via the pins of others. I can’t say I’m optimistic they’d respond or actually do anything suggested given they can’t even respond to my defense of a few incorrectly objectionable content posts they have deleted off my accounts. But you never know. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, right?
Otherwise, I’m going to sit back and watch the consequences come to Pinterest as a result of their inaction and incompetence, and may just give up Pinterest for a better learning tool.