Not to overdo it on Pinterposts, but the recent onslaught of friends, acquaintances, and everyone-else on Pinterest has led me to think of some rules. In pirate fashion, these are actually guidelines, and the purpose is to ensure that Pinterest is useful and interesting for you - because, quite honestly, it's not really a social network. It's a network, and a society, but it's mostly a silent one. Pinterest comments are rare, and the best followers and followeds are more often than not complete strangers. It's about meeting one another in the places your aesthetic tastes lie. Who you are behind your tastes is secondary. I will never meet Mary Beth Burrell, but I love her outrageous 433 boards. I will never meet Maia Then, but we swap typography pins on a regular basis, without overt acknowledgement.

1. To begin with, you shouldn't join Pinterest just because "everyone else is doing it." You can browse your friends' boards without making your own, so don't feel like you have to make an empty profile unless you start seeing pictures everywhere that you don't want to lose!

Because that is the ultimate point. To keep all the pretty things you see together in one unforgettable place. It has nothing to do with how many followers you have, or how often you are repinned. Those things are nice affirmations of your style-sense, but if you have 100 followers and five pins, you're missing the point.

2. There are three things you can do to someone else's pin (other than commenting or ignoring, which would make five...). You can report it, which you should do if it is inappropriate, the guidelines for which are outlined under Pin Etiquette, which you should read before you begin. Seriously. My mother's on Pinterest. Let's keep it clean.

Other than that, you can "like" it, or you can "repin" it. Liking a pin does more than just stamp the pin with an effervescent symbol of your approval. It stores the pin in one big folder of your very own that says "Likes." The pins you like do not show up in the feeds of pinners who follow you, so it's a wonderful way to quickly collect little things here and there that you don't want to forget (a recipe or how-to-clean-with-lemon-slices tutorial) but that you also don't necessarily want cluttering up your follower's home pages.

You should have a code concerning what you pin, an internal guideline, a sense. You should pin the things you don't want to live without. The things you want to somehow, with or without effort, incorporate into your life. Things that make your eyes widen slightly, or a smile form, or even the tenderest tear fall. They should be things you want to look at again in five years, and in ten. Pin what moves you. Pin what you care about. Because you are amassing a collection. And if you collect a load of crap, it will be your pinterburden for all time.

3. When pinning from a website other than Pinterest itself, try your darndest to pin from a solid original webpage. One that will not change its content. This is called a permalink. Be careful of this especially when you pin from Tumblr or other similar sites. I cannot tell how many times I have tried to locate the original source of a pin only to find myself trolling through dozens of pages on someone's Tumblr or blog. It's not just about convenience, though. It's about crediting your sources. A photographer should be findable from his/her photograph. A designer should be findable from his/her quirky logo. This isn't just a guideline, either. Pinterest asks you to do it, and plenty of artists, designers, photographers, companies in general, etc. are legitimately worried about the implications of Pinterest when the sources of things are not maintained. Honor the artist.

These are only three pinterules, but they should be all you need, at least as you get going. In the meantime, here are some other great pinners to follow:

Have fun!

*Note, graphic above came from here.

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