The Gender Dynamics of Pinterest
Is Pinterest a women’s site? Statistics would indicate that the answer is yes, at least for Pinterest use in America: according to a recent survey of social media demographics conducted by Pingdom, 79% of Pinterest users in the United States are female, while Pinterest use is more balanced in the U.K.
An infographic produced by Visual.ly in February shows that 56% of Pinterest users in the U.K. are male. The countries’ different uses for Pinterest account for the difference in gender dynamics. U.S. users turn to Pinterest for inspiration for crafts, gifts and special event items, and hobbies and leisure, while primary uses in the U.K. include venture capital, blogging resources and services, and web stats and analytics (though crafts are a common interest among the U.K. audience, too).
Board of Man
But Pinterest doesn’t have to be a women’s site—it just so happens that a lot of women use it. Some American males have decided to breach the Pinterest gender gap by using the site as a place to display their own macho interests. Drew Hawkins, a social engagement manager for marketing agency Engage, once complained about the site’s predominantly female orientation to a female co-worker, who pointed out that the site is what you make of it. So Hawkins created his “Board of Man,” which features how-to’s on cooking bacon and pork tenderloin and boasts more than 200,000 followers.
And those who want a more male-oriented social media site can turn to Gentlemint, the most popular male answers to Pinterest-style sites among its cohorts like Manteresting and Dudepins. It promotes itself as “a mint of manly things” and “a place to find and share manly things.” Users tack images, rather than pinning them; its “Popular” section displays superhero ornaments; a Star Wars screen capture of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo walking with Chewbacca to receive their medals for destroying the Death Star, with the word “Swag” displayed at the bottom). There you'll also find a picture of Ronald Reagan riding a fierce-looking dinosaur with an American flag fluttering in the backdrop.
While these images do contrast with the teddy bears, letters with elegant calligraphy script, and cake pops found on Pinterest’s “Popular” page, both pages have things in common. Both have advice on apparel, inspirational quotes, and dieting advice. So while the specific focuses of each may differ for the site’s users, they do still share some of the same underlying interests.
It's More Valuable than You Think
And it isn’t as if Pinterest is useless for men altogether; just like their female counterparts, men can use Pinterest for discovering new products, like the latest iPhone apps or the best of nerdy-cool video game gear. And Pinterest allows you to follow certain boards, rather than following users so that you can tailor what you see. Furthermore, Pinterest boards can give you ideas about what your female loved ones are interested in, making selecting gifts for them come Christmastime or birthdays much easier.
But apparently Pinterest’s relevance to men is so murky that some have deemed it necessary to outline how Pinterest can benefit male users. Googling “how do men use Pinterest” results in articles explaining how men can use it, as opposed to how they do use it. So how can they use it? As the following infographic from JM Block demonstrates, ideas include finding tips for home repair projects, viewing the latest gadgets and toys, and learning about workout routines:
Experts are divided on the gender dynamics of Pinterest. Some argue that it isn’t a bad thing that the majority of Pinterest users are female, while others point out that it may be just a matter of time before Pinterest catches on with men—after all, Facebook started as a site for college students, and look where it is today. What are your thoughts on gender and Pinterest usage?
If you’re a male Pinterest user, what do you use Pinterest for?