Pinterest and the Interest Graph

If you don’t ‘get’ Pinterest, or if you love Pinterest but you’re not sure why, or if you’re just fascinated by the way networks work, you might enjoy this video in which Pinterest Co-Founder and CEO Ben Silberman discusses The Interest Graph at a Pinterest partner event.

The Interest Graph


If you don’t have 15 minutes to spare (you can skip the last 3), or your internet can’t handle video (I feel your pain), here are the highlights:

  • Great products give us a magical experience
  • Pinterest is about the questions that you can’t ask Google
  • Pinterest is less about searching and more about discovery
  • Collections are a way of organizing and making sense of the world around us and tell a lot about who you are
  • Pinterest puts our collections on the internet
  • The magic of Pinterest is the way your thing becomes linked to other things
  • Organizing the world’s objects in the way that makes sense to us can also be meaningful to others
  • Pinterest helps us organize things by interest and lets a single product travel through a network of interests and passions
  • The best way to discover things you love is through people who share your interests
  • Unlike many other social networks, which connect you to people you know, Pinterest excels in connecting us to like-minded people > which is one of the most interesting networks of all
  • Put away your device and go out and do some of the things you are discovering!

Great stuff! Now to find time to watch some more videos from this event

Verifying Pinterest on a Wordpress Site

Here’s how I went about verifying a Pinterest page that is connected to a 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 site that you are reading this post … it was on a site I manage at work.

This is what I ended up doing:

  1. List your website in your profile at (you’ve probably already done this)
  2. Go to 
  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 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 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.

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