The Sociology of Social Media
I wish I could poll people on the street and see if they actually believe that Pinterest is only for girls. I don't think Pinterest is only for girls, but it would seem that lots of other people do. The fast-growing social media network is dominated by women, with nearly 70% female membership at last count. Women's apparel is actually the most-pinned item in the US and humorous lists of hilarious ways that men have used or misused Pinterest have gone viral. Most fascinating, Pinterest-inspired social media networks marketed specifically to men are popping up like crazy. I spent a morning taking a tour of the internet, researching some of the latest content curation networks that are just for dudes. The jury is still out on whether they can take the rumor that Pinterest is only for girls to the bank.
A self-proclaimed "Mint of Manly Things," Gentlemint was never created with the intention of competing with Pinterest. According to the founders, they hope to focus on very specific kinds of content - the manly kinds.
Has the content explosion become so significant that content curation networks in the future could be entirely focused on niches? I suppose time will tell, but the founders of Gentlemint state they have tens of thousands of people waiting for an invite to start pinning images of moustaches, boats, t-shirts and vintage guns. I guess you could count me as curious, because I requested a spot on their waiting list.
The founders of Dudepins claim they felt this site was needed because they had trouble sorting through Pinterest to connect with people who had similar aesthetics. The public seems to agree - their membership is growing at a rate of 30-50% each week.
Manteresting is the only one of the content curation sites I viewed that didn't require an invite, proclaiming on their home page that "invites are lame! Get started today." I created an account and spent a few minutes looking around.
I was excited to note that Manteresting lets users view the top-voted pins, a feature that I hope we'll see more of in niche content curation communities. While I hoped to see images of classic cars and sailboats, I was hit with a wall of slightly objectifying photos of famous actresses. I don't believe that Pinterest is only for girls, but I think Manteresting is definitely a place I won't be visiting again.
I am excited to watch Dudepins and Gentlemint and see if these sites flourish. The founders of Dudepins and Gentlemint both hope to make women an actively welcomed part of their network. I think niche content curation networks could be extraordinarily useful in the future. The amount of available information is always increasing, and finding ways to identify, save and store the stuff that matters will be increasingly necessary. Content curation networks specifically for recipes or wedding planning could explode, allowing users to connect with people with similar aesthetics.
On the other hand, I don't think niche networks could ever replace the usefulness of Pinterest. One of my favorite aspects of Pinterest is the user-friendly search function. Whether I'm after pictures of vintage eyeglasses or recipes for crockpot chicken thighs, I love the fact that I can always find it on Pinterest. I'm not alone in that regard, because an estimated 80% of pins on Pinterest are actually repins, meaning they originate from a user's feed or search. For now, if you're hoping to go viral, Pinterest is probably your best bet.
It's Your Turn! What Do You Think of Dudepins, Manteresting and Gentlemint?
Image Credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Victor Habbick