I am an avid Pinterest user. I have become a better cook as result of finding great recipes, and have also found some very useful business information that I have been able to apply at work through shared infographics and blog posts that I come across on Pinterest.
This past week I learned a really valuable lesson about the “Follow All” button. It’s that button you see when you come across a user that you are not currently following and have taken a liking to some of their shared pins. It may seem like the “Easy” button at first glance, but take heed…
My typical, in a hurry, modus operandi has been to click that easy red “Follow All” button when I come across someone I want to follow. Up until just recently I never gave it a second thought. Probably because nothing out of the ordinary showed up in my stream… until recently. When I first joined Pinterest I followed only people I knew personally, because I knew what kind of content they would pin. Well I thought that was the case. These are all professionals after all, who mostly make a living on social media – so they know the importance of giving careful consideration to any content they may post… right?
This past week I was on Pinterest, to pull up one of my favorite recipes, Cajun Mac N Cheese – YUM! When I opened up Pinterest, I noticed it was full of naked pictures! My 7 and 8 year old sons were running around, and I have a VERY large screen at home, so these images showed in quite a grand scale. I could not close my screen down fast enough! This is the first time I have seen content of this nature on Pinterest, and it really caught me off guard. I thought, who the heck did I follow that is posting that content?
As soon the coast was clear I went back to figure out which boards/people I needed to unfollow. To my surprise, it was a professional colleague who I know personally, that had created a board and was pinning images publicly that… well… I honestly have no words for.
My philosophy about social media (and this is just my opinion) is that I choose to be transparent about who I am, so I connect with both personal and professional connections on all of my social profiles. I know not everybody believes that is the right thing to do. But I also don’t drink, don’t party, and pretty much live a tame existence. There is nothing I would post that would worry me if a professional colleague saw it. I guess that’s the way I look at it. I would never link to, or post, something obscene or bordering on questionable to any of my profiles, in fact, I won’t even share a photo I really like if the original source link name has profanity it in. (If I really like it a post like that, I will download it and re-post it myself because I don’t want f**k on my Facebook wall for any reason.) It’s not that I’m a prude, because trust me when I tell you I used to swear like a truck driver. I just don’t need it stamped in eternity – attached to my name – on the Internet.
The last thing I want when someone Googles my name, is for a first impression search result to be inappropriate.
What has this taught me? When I follow folks on Pinterest, I need to take a careful look at their boards (all of them)and either choose only the ones I want to follow (I will never
Follow-All again). Because remember, in using the Follow All button, you are subject to the possibility that someone could create a board after you follow them that you may not like. If you do Follow All, that new board will automatically show in your stream. I do think, in my case, this is what happened with my friend, but I did go an unfollow all of his boards. I will stay connected on other social sites, but if that is the content he chooses to be associated with on Pinterest, best not to be connected.
So as you are getting connected across Pinterest, I encourage you to consider carefully how you use that Follow All button. Even at the time you review their profile, if they unknowingly add a new board, it will show in your stream… Just something to keep in mind.