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Using Pinterest for live event coverage: the downside

March 12, 2012

Our Academy Award live coverage on Pinterest was great fun for me and co-host Jen Barnett. But it also came with a few headaches.

Tina Fey pinEarlier, I reviewed the pros. Let’s take a look at the cons …

Pinterest alone will not be enough. As fun as it is to have a home base with a Pinterest board, it’s not really enough to generate excitement for a live event. I recommend using a blog post updated continuously as a starting point. A free tool worth using is CoverItLive, which handles live chats with a sophisticated interface. Too bad it won’t give a thumbnail for links like Facebook does.

You could also use a Twitter chat with a unique hashtag, though I would also recommend a home base like TweetChat to keep things grounded.

The challenge is that a Pinterest board is static, unless the user reloads it repeatedly. Having a running chat window keeps the interaction going.

Pinterest is still buggy. Heck, Twitter is still buggy, and it’s 6 years old. Pinterest is a year old, but we quickly found out its limitations during our live pinning.

For starters, the site went down during the Oscars. Had that been our only option, we would have been completely halted. (See why I suggested an alternate home base?)

Another issue: When I first tried to create our Oscar Best Dressed and Oscar Worst Dressed pin boards, it wouldn’t let my partner pin, even though she was cleared as an authorized pinner. (She had to create the boards herself on the fly, but they’re still not showing up on my Pinterest profile.)

Yet another flaw in Pinterest in board management. As a board’s creator, I can add and delete pinners. That’s it. I can’t edit or delete their pins, even after removing their access. During our Oscar night event, I couldn’t add relevant info to Jen’s pins, except by commenting on them. And she didn’t have time to edit them herself. (Other option: me logging in as Jen.)

Plus, if a co-pinner’s account is hacked — and it will happen at some point — I can only hope I notice quickly enough to shut down their access. But then what? I can’t remove the pins (including spam, hate speech or graphic images); my only option is to click Report Pin. The only other option is to delete the board, but I don’t want to delete a board that has both hundreds of followers and pins.

Fix this, Pinterest. Fix this now.

Pinterest is myopic on many Web pages. Pinning a YouTube video is a breeze. Pinning a Vimeo video is … impossible. You get this error message: “Sorry, we can’t see any big images or videos on this page.”

Any page with no images or tiny images in unpinnable as well. That can put a severe dent in your live pinning.

The visual appeal of Pinterest makes it a good option for live coverage. But be aware that your event can come to a sudden halt if you don’t have options beyond pinning itself.

More Pinterest:

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2012 9:05 am

    One of my biggest issues with Pinterest is that it couldn’t see images on many sites that I wanted to pin, especially bands/musical artists. I finally gave up and haven’t spent a lot of time there recently.

    I did participate a bit in your Oscar pinning session. The “refresh” issue was an issue for me, but you and Jen did a great job under challenging and “test” circumstances.

    It’s very helpful to watch adventuresome folks to try out new platforms in new and novel ways.

    • March 13, 2012 12:10 pm

      Two solutions: 1. Publishers need to think about having photos and YouTube videos embedded on each page and post (no Flash). 2. Pinners can get around the issue with screenshots, but it’s a pain to load the pin.

      I’m betting most pinners are not creators, so they’re happy to surf and repin without pinning their fave sites.

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