Pinterest is taking the online social world by storm. Often thought of as Tumblr for adults, Pinterest is becoming wildly popular among an increasing number of “pinners”. Of course, I see it as my duty to investigate new social media trends, so I got an invite from my girlfriend (she’s immensely pleased to be the one on the cutting edge of technology this time around!)
So aside from the million emails telling me I have new followers, I didn’t really try to use it until this weekend. I logged in, and what to my wondering eyes should appear…but lots of women “pinning” crafts, wedding photos, and cute outfits. Hm…
I felt like I had walked into a virtual Michaels or Jo Ann Fabrics. Or like the time I accidentally remained on the line dancing floor during a women-only song, only to look up and see all the guys had cleared out, and I was alone in a sea of women. As I clicked around and checked out various elements of Pinterest, I wasn’t displeased in the sense of user experience – there’s lots of wonderful photography and amazing looking food (I started a board called “I’d Eat That”).
But I couldn’t help wondering – where’s all the dudes?
It quickly became clear to me that in the world of social media, Pinterest is filling a very 20-something female void. Tumblr’s demographic seems to be more high school and college-aged, but definitely appeals, if not exactly equally, pretty closely, to both men and women. Pinterest, on the other hand, is all about the ladies.
Are there guys on Pinterest? Yes, but about a handful. What are the guys on Pinterest doing? As I said, I started a board about things that look good to eat. I also started a board called “Technology and You,” with cool techie things I see. But I don’t really expect much interest in them from a follower standpoint.
Why Women Love Pinterest
I’m honestly not trying to play on gender stereotypes; I’m really just trying to understand why Pinterest is used so predominately by women.
Here’s a few possibilities:
Pinterest spread like wildfire originally through specific invitations to use the service. It’s possible that knowing what the service was like, women were inclined to only invite their female friends. Or, if they did invite men, when those guys went to check it out and saw that they didn’t really have a place there, they might not have accepted the invitation.
If You Build It, They Will Come
It’s also possible that the user interfaced was designed more for women than men in the first place. Tumblr has themes that you can customize – some are more “traditionally feminine” than others. With Pinterest, you work with the interface you are given. While there’s nothing about it that screams “feminine”, since the pinned images make up so much of the interface itself, and since the users are predominately female, it definitely appeals somewhat more to women.
Content is King (or Queen)
As I’ve said previously, content is at the core of social media. It makes any particular social media service what it is. So in the case of Pinterest, the content being shared and “repinned” is content that appeals more to women than men, most of the time. I don’t think that’s being reductionist from a gender standpoint, I think it’s just pointing to the reality of the situation. Thus, Pinterest is what it is because of content shared by women. People gravitate towards social media services because they like what they see there – that’s not a huge mystery but it’s extremely important.
So, what are your thoughts on Pinterest as an emerging social media platform? Is it really only for the ladies?