Verifying Pinterest on a WordPress Site

Here’s how I went about verifying a Pinterest page that is connected to a WordPress.org website. I couldn’t figure out where to upload the file provided by Pinterest, so went looking and found  this Hubspot blog post. A comment by Ryan Shell on this post was my starting point, but either didn’t spell it out clearly enough or didn’t get me all the way there.

Just to clarify … this wasn’t on the WordPress.com site that you are reading this post … it was on a WordPress.org site I manage at work.

This is what I ended up doing:

  1. List your website in your profile at https://pinterest.com/settings/ (you’ve probably already done this)
  2. Go to https://pinterest.com/domain/verify/ 
  3. Download the file provide by Pinterest
  4. Upload the file to WordPress using the media upload button (I’m not sure this is necessary … the instructions I started with said included this and I had done it, but I never attached the file to anything)
  5. Open the file provided by Pinterest in a text editor and copy the contents
  6. Create this NEW page
    1. Name = the file name from pinterest
    2. Switch to HTML editing and paste the contents of the file provided by Pinterest into the body of the page (again, not entirely sure if this part is really necessary, but it is what I did)
  7. Create a redirection from source URL = /filenamefrompinterest.html to target URL = your new page  (I use the Redirection plugin)
  8. Go back to http://pinterest.com/domain/verify/ and click “Click here to complete the process”
  9. Copy the code number/letter string from the red error message
  10. Paste the code number in to your new page and update the page – I just put it right at the top before all the html stuff, I suspect it might be the only part that is really needed
  11. Go back to http://pinterest.com/domain/verify/ again and click “Click here to complete the process”

All I can say is it worked for me. I’m no expert and I just muddled through. If it didn’t work for you, I have no idea why 🙂

PS: after I got this all posted I also found a link further down the comments to a very similar solution by Annie S. If mine doesn’t help you, perhaps hers will.

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TimelineThe one (non-farming) magazine that we subscribe to is Time. Somehow (hmm … busyness?) I had three issues to catch up on this past weekend. Lots of interesting pieces, but by far the one that most caught my attention was “This Is Your Life (According to Your New Timeline)” by Allie Townsend, in the February 13 issue (find it here).

The article discusses how the timeline fits into the future of Facebook.

The way Mark Zuckerberg runs Facebook is reminiscent of the way Steve Jobs ran Apple,” [Brian Solis, a principal analyst at the Altimeter Group, a digital-research-based advisory firm] says. “It’s ‘We’re not going to wait for customers to tell us what they want. We’re going to introduce what we think is in their best interest and they will learn to love it.'”

Although, the way in which Facebook is introducing this latest feature shows how they’ve tweaked their method in response to past complaints.

Facebook held off on a mandatory switch, and isn’t relying on a p.r. push to ease people inot the idea of the new design. Instead it’s counting on users to do that for one another and giving early adopters time to evangelize. “We’ve been in a mode where users can choose to use Timeline since September,” Lessin says.”The way people learn to sue social media is from their friends.

I guess I’m one of those early adopters at least some of the time. I set up my timeline some time last fall I guess. Just one or two friends that I knew of had the timeline before me, and it required jumping through the technical hoops that I assume were intended to self select users who were at least a little bit techie.

For the record, although I didn’t do much active evangelizing, I am, indeed, a fan of the Timeline. More than anything, I think what I personally most like is the visual appeal of the timeline layout.

Facebook’s real strategy though, is to draw me (and you) in through the stories, and not just the stories of our friends, but our own stories. I like the idea of story telling, in fact one of my official “goals” at work is focused on story telling (more about that some other time).

We realized that early Facebook users have been telling stories for seven years on our platform and we were sending them a message that it didn’t matter,” [Sam Lessin, Facebook product manager] says. “So we said, Instead of immediacy, instead of the five most important facts about a person, let’s weave a story together about your life.

What Facebook is really looking for is the next level of hooks to keep us users loyal on the face of so many other social media options. The timeline model of permanent, personal life stories is the direct opposite of the superficial fleeting updates that are seen (perhaps especially by non-users?) to sum up Twitter.

The next piece of the puzzle was to convince users That Facebook continues and will continue to be integral to our lives.

The more time people invest in editing their Timelines … the bigger the emotional cost of ditching Facebook for another service … So instead of asking users to create their Timelines from scratch … Facebook has done the work for them, pushing their content to the new format to show them how invested they already are.

More and more, Facebook will continue to add to our stories on our behalf, wherever we go on the web, even if we never post another status update. This story telling is increasingly done through the new apps that log your activity on other sites (Yahoo news, spotify, Pinterest etc.).

But, for Facebook that’s where the real value is – in the apps.  Between the likes and the app posts and everything else you do on the site, Facebook knows more about you than Google.

[Until now], if [anything on the internet] was worth seeing, it was indexed by Google. … Facebook is essentially a vault of Internet activity that Google can’t read.

I’m an information junkie. My family will tell you I have a bad habit of  getting up from the supper table to look up some little piece of information. A few years ago I might go to Google for an answer. Now, I’m more likely to go to Facebook (or Twitter) first. Facebook, not Google, has the ability to tell me what I really want to know about someone (do we have mutual friends) or something (what are people saying about it).

The network has to constantly reinvent itself so people feel compelled to come back, and more importantly, to share more about themselves than they had thought or felt comfortable doing so in the past.

As much as I have embraced the Timeline layout, I’m still a little wary of the level of sharing involved with the new apps.  I’m not sure I want everyone I know to see a list of every pin I pin (of course, if my friends wanted to know that they could follow me directly on Pinterest), every article I read, or every song I listen to.

Everything on your Timeline was posted, or green-lighted, by you. Facebook is just making it newly accessible. Your privacy settings haven’t changed. The burden of reassessing your content has.

Basically, what people can see on your default Timeline is exactly what they could see before Timeline, it just takes fewer clicks to do so. Plus, users now have added ability to curate those items to a greater degree, even items from the past (read this or watch this).

Oh, and while I’m on the subject of privacy … I feel I’ve said it until I’m blue in the face, but for anyone still concerned about the Ticker, the same applies – people can see exactly what they could see before the Ticker, it just takes fewer clicks to do so. I’m not going to go into it again here … read this.

So go reassess your content people. Make the switch, or at least don’t be concerned when the switch is made for you 🙂

Pinterest Part 2

P2So it has been a few weeks now since I started playing with Pinterest, and how it might be used in the congregation.

Here’s my original post.

Time, now, to share a few things that might be of interest to others travelling this journey with me:

Other Examples

There don’t seem to be a lot of other churches trying this yet – or if there are they are hard to find. So far I have found Mars Hill, Wheaton Bible Church, and UCCA. Do you know of others?

I’m also curious about how the Pinterest & Coffee small group works at North Church.

Some Sites aren’t Pinterest Friendly

I ran into some less-than-ideal results when I started trying to pin some websites that just didn’t have relevant graphics in a suitable size and proportion (square or portrait shaped images work best).

I have since learned that you can pin the ‘right’ image from elsewhere (like a deeper page of the website) and then edit the link. Note, I’m not talking about neglecting to credit the source (see below).

synod pin

For example, when I wanted to pin a link for our synod, I found the only logo on their page was part of their header (which would result in the left thumbnail image ). After making the pin by uploading an image of just their logo from my hard drive (right), I edited the link to go to their home page.

At some point I’ll need to go back and re-pin some of the other links from before I found this workaround.

Etiquette is Important

There’s a great article at My 3 Boybarians, but basically, make sure the link or credit goes back to the original poster.

On a related note, Pinterest is not Twitter. What I mean by that is although some ‘experts’ may say otherwise, there is no right or wrong way to use Twitter. There are valid arguments for and against following, linking, replying and retweeting on Twitter. It is perfectly acceptable for some accounts to be exclusively broadcast or heavily self promotion. Pinterest is different.

It’s right there in the official etiquette:

“Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.”

In my opinion, Mars Hill doesn’t get it. At this time, every one of their pins links back to their own website.

I admit, I was inspired by Mars Hill to add boards for our monthly newsletter and upcoming events, but I intend for the core of my congregation’s Pinterest presence to be the same sorts of general interest things that our members are pinning.

Stats Surprised Me

In these few weeks, according to Google Analytics, 60% of referral traffic to our main website has come via Pinterest.  I know shamefully little about interpreting analytics, but that seems huge.

Members are There

Beyond the handful of members I originally found through personal contacts, I’ve already found about 80 members of the congregation that are using Pinterest (through the totally unscientific method of browsing through followers of my personal contacts for other names I recognize as members). Compare that to Twitter where through methodical search I’ve found about 100 members of the congregation, of which only maybe a dozen actually tweet.

Use Likes

My current goal is to do about one repin and about one ‘fresh’ pin most days. I’ve found that for me ‘likes’ are a good way to temporarily bookmark pins that I might want to repin later. When I don’t have much time to look for something to repin I can choose something from my ‘likes’ and then ‘unlike’ it.

Here’s an updated look at my boards:

Zion on Pinterest

Using Pinterest in the Congregation

PinterestSometimes we are led in unexpected directions.

  • Last week I happened across a suggestion for using Pinterest for churches (Part I – read this if you don’t know what Pinterest is/ Part II). I’d heard of Pinterest but didn’t really know too much about it. I mentally filed the idea away but didn’t really give it too much immediate consideration.
  • A couple of days later I attended a teaser of sorts for Social Phonics, which got me thinking about our strategy (or lack of it) in using social media (especially Twitter) at church.
  • Over the weekend I decided to take some of my ‘stash’ and make some gift cards for an upcoming Valentine’s fundraiser sale. Since I haven’t done a lot of card making lately I needed some inspiration, so decided to check out what I could find using Pinterest.

Pinterest is sort of a way to find, organize, bookmark, and share inspiring links. I was able to search Pinterest for Valentine’s cards and find some ideas to get my creativity flowing again.

This is just my sort of thing. I’ve been a fan of Delicious and then Diigo, but to combine that concept with a more visual interface, as well as something some of my real-life friends are actually starting to use … I started to see some potential.

I started thinking about ways I might experiment with using this tool in a meaningful way as a tool for church communications.

I went ahead and set up two Pinterest accounts. Pinterest seems to require each account be attached to an existing Facebook or Twitter account, so I went with a personal account, attached to my facebook account, and a ‘Zion Lutheran Church” account, attached to the ZionBuffalo twitter account.

Through my personal account I was able to easily discover about 2 dozen members of the congregation who already have Pinterest accounts (because they also happen to be my personal Facebook friends) to follow with the ZionBuffalo Pinterest account.

Because of the tie-in with Twitter, I can use this as a tool to expand the use of our Twitter account (which until now has been mostly automatic re-posts of our Facebook page status, but I’ve been thinking it is time to be a bit more strategic in that area)

I came up with a few types of ‘boards’ to try:

  • Boards for links pertaining to our local area, our mission partners, and Lutheranisms
  • A board for craft ideas that may inspire volunteers interested in being part of our annual ‘Harvest of Hands’ festival (I’m particularly interested in the potential for collaborating on boards like this, but that functionality is yet to figure out)
  • A board for reading selections from the Book Club
  • A board for books that have been used for staff or committee book studies
  • A board for articles on our own website that feature stories about members of the congregation

I’m thinking that as it develops, it could be a way to provide spiritual resources for the congregation, be another way that members can connect with and get to know each other, and maybe even a way that others in our community can discover us (through boards of local interest as well as items that are repinned by our members).

Why don’t you just have a look 🙂

screenshot of ZionBuffalo Pinterest

… continue to Pinterest Part 2

A New Theme

Fjords04 Theme

Before ...

Today’s project is not so much a post as a new look. I’d been using Fjords04 … I liked the split header and the 4 columns. I had my Twitter feed in the 2nd column, delicious feed in the 3rd column, and the usual blog stuff in the 4th column.

Well I don’t use delicious any more (have switched to Diigo, but that’s a different story), and I think I want a wider content column. I’m contemplating things like recipes and crafts, and although I’m mostly taking low quality iPod photos, I aspire to do better someday.

In the time that has passed I have managed to customize a theme for work, so I’m sure finding a theme I’m happy with as-is in the ‘free’ category will be somewhat of a struggle.

So if I loose the delicious column, but maybe want to keep the twitter column … that’s 3 columns … plus keep the photo header … only 24 choices, and maybe only half of them free … yikes!

I’m finding myself rejecting a lot of potential themes based on font, or more specifically font spacing.

For now I’ve settled on trying out Vigilance by The Theme Foundry. After I picked it I realized that sounded familiar for some reason … The Theme Foundry … sure enough, turns out I’ve built the church site on another Theme Foundry theme (Titan).

Well, tweaking the details will have to wait until another time … this is apparently NOT one of those days I’ll be getting to work early!

Facebook Is Not Church, But

My senior pastor (who does not use facebook) caught me reading “Is Facebook Church?” by Jon Sweeney in the July issue of The Lutheran, and asked me what I thought, so here goes…

Unfortunately, the entire article is only available online by subscription [available here (thanks, Amber)]; but of course there might still be a print copy of The Lutheran around if you haven’t seen it.   In summary, Sweeney compares the authenticity of our facebook relationships with the more superficial relationships we may tend to have with our fellow worshipers on Sunday morning.

Continue reading

Follow or Unfollow

One of the nicest things about Saturday mornings is some extra time for reading. This morning it was two blog posts debating the merits of unfollowing everyone on Twitter.

The first was Why I Unfollowed Everyone on Twitter and Why You Should Too by @JoelDrapper who decided that he was following too many people and wanted to focus on connections rather than numbers by unfollowing everyone and stating over with those who really interest him.

The response was Why It’s a Terrible Idea to Unfollow Everyone on Twitter by @the_gman saying that is anti-social and unfair to have one-way conversations on Twitter (complete with a cleverly worded poll reminiscent of political ads).

I agree with @JoelDrapper and many of the comments by LoneWolf, and here’s why: Continue reading