I just was referred to a post of +Chris Brogan's on Pinterest, by someone who…

I just was referred to a post of +Chris Brogan's on Pinterest, by someone who HATED the platform before and now acts as it's the best thing since sliced bread…. except for that it's for women. They offered it as proof to me that it's for 'chicks'. I left this comment on Chris' blog, but was too fired up to just let it sit there.

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This all amuses me. Months back when Pinterest first 'opened' not many people were interested, and looked down their noses at it. Why? Not because it was visual but because it was perceived as a scrapbook / dream board site for women. Now that those naysayers are eating crow because if used 'correctly', Pinterest can be either the #1 or #1 traffic referrer, often times beating out Facebook (where they had grown complacent and lazy).

So, rather than just ride the Pinterest wave, we need a 'man' version of it now?! I call bullshit. Did we need a male version of any other niche network? It it so wrong that (female) users saw an amazing – and oh… BUSINESS – use for something and wound up dominating the platform?

Now everyone is writing how awesome it is. Why is it cool now? Because online marketers realized it is a traffic generator? It worked perfectly fine before, for those people that recognized its value early on. Who's fault is it that they were mostly women? The fault is with people that take a superficial glance from the outside and see pins of scrapbook rooms and makeup tips. It any of these people had true cred as online marketing professionals, they would have seen right past the staged Home and Gardens photos and went right to the click stats.

I get that there are plenty of me-too startups after a sleeper success, Groupon proved that. My issue is that EVERY SINGLE TIME Pinterest is talked about it is labeled a women's "thing". The platform isn't for everyone, and doesn't work for every type of content or business. It has nothing to do with the fact the majority of users are women or the content is pretty.

This isn't a gender thing, so we need to all stop looking at it as such. The copy-cats are sadly opportunistic. The platform is VISUAL vs TEXTUAL. So sorry if it is just a format that women have historically been a bit better at using for communication.

This isn't a dig at Chris (although the post that fired me up is his). It is a result of all of the anti-backlashing that has been going on with Pinterest. First it sucked (why – because it was for 'girls'). Next everyone is Pinterest's BFF and pinning stock photos to try to lure traffic to their content. Let's cal a spade a spade, if you blew off Pinterest before, don't turn around and act like you discovered its usefulness. The web remembers all, and we can see posts from the fall when you bashed the platform ;)

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About Lynette

LynetteRadio is the alter-ego of the MarTech geek Lynette Young. She's been a pioneer in social media since she began blogging in 1997. In 2006 she founded Purple Stripe Productions (now on hold due to a full-time gig she loves), a social technology and strategy firm. Lynette has worked with companies, organizations, and professionals to help them have more meaningful conversations with their customers in new and engaging ways using digital publishing platforms. She's also a makeup junkie, shoe collector, gamer geek, and fan of Doctor Who (and all things David Tennant).

Comments

  1. Robert Elliot says:

    pinterest is a social bookmark site for me.

  2. Mary Jacobs says:

    Zing!!! Oh, I remember too, +Lynette Young ! Good for you for saying it!

  3. Mary Jacobs says:

    Sure, +Piotr Orzechowski , you can send me an message with your e-mail and I will send you an invite.

  4. Mary Jacobs says:

    I haven't notice a lot of linkbait- yet.

  5. Take a look at the cars motorcycles gadgets etc lists to find the men.

  6. Does anyone can share pinterest invitation?

  7. Oh and by the way, let's take a meta look at the concept that a site's popularity is marginalized just because the site is liked by women? Why does this devalue the site? Why are we using gender at all? How about "liked by a lot of people?" why do we look at women as less worthy users or judges of a site's worth?

  8. +Christine Cavalier my issue is that in the beginning it was blown off because it was just a frilly Oprah-style dream board for women. Now there are people in there just trying to take advantage of the organic community (that just so happens to be a #1 traffic generator if you have content that works well). I've also seen a ton of linkbait – a shiny motorcycle pic when you click on it leads you to some crappy site where they stuffed keywords and do tons of AdSense.

  9. Cue the flypaper visual targets purely for Pinterest hooks.

  10. It will be interesting to see what happens when the plan to monetize is revealed and implemented. Will that change the dynamic or spoil the charm?

  11. I think they already (or plan to) rip out all affiliate links, so that's a start.

  12. haha, sorry I fell into the group of the initial naysayers, because it was frilly! But a photo caught my eye and I had trouble getting off the site to pick up my first fresh brewed cup of coffee of the morning! BTW, the photo was food but then there was just so much more to discover!

  13. Lynette – great comment! I got out of a meeting where people are telling this group that "they have to get on Pinterest". It's yet another social network that makes sense for some people and not for others. I think there was an article about why Tech Brands don't need to be on Pinterest.

  14. +Stacy Jill Calvert agreed. Not every company / brand / niche needs to be in there or should be. People get blind when they see that sites are getting a slew of traffic from Pinterest. What they fail to research or realize is that the site could have been an art or jewelry site, and the visuals of Pinterest make the most sense there. Hell, there are a lot of times certain types of content blow up in a good way on Digg.

    Speaking of Digg, Kirtsy was the female version of it when it started, but has now evolved into something that I'm surprised isn't compared to Pinterest more.

  15. Just like with all the Social Media platforms, when used strategically, #Pinterest can serve one well with Social Networking objectives. Geek speak aside, it totally rocks! Oh yeah, and the VISUAL is truly why the momentum is flying off the charts! We are visual creatures, so now that we have a simple AND social way to express ourselves — well, I believe the statistics can finish my statement here.

  16. There are few social tools that do not have a female-dominant user base or female-driven activity-levels, including FB and Twitter. Doesn't seem to be hurting them.

    PS: Women are the majority of Internet users and the majority of household spenders. Over in my neck of the woods, women are seen as the most powerful and influential people to reach.

    The power dynamic has shifted online, and perhaps some folks just can't see it or (or stand it). People get pretty apprehensive and resistant about change, you know?

  17. Paul Stacy says:

    And avoid the one's with a smiley face , at all cost.

  18. Great conversation. I think Pinterest is the coolest thing of 2011, especially because women dominate it. I think it rules.

    Why do I prefer Gentlemint? Because I'm male and I don't need to know how to do an upsweep do, nor do I need to appreciate Ryan Gosling.

    Is it the coolest network? Absolutely. I would advise companies to work in Pinterest instead of FB, depending on the goals.

  19. Also, this opening statement "the first social network that has a much higher adoption rate by females than males" is wrong, unless you don't define ~10 and more points greater adoption to be "much higher".

    Twitter has more women users than men. And interestingly, women will follow men and women, but men tend to follow mostly men. [Source: HBR] Heh, reminds me of my political blogging days.

    Facebook also have more women than men, and women have more active walls. [Source: InsideFacebook.com]

    Women are the power users of social media and have been for several years now.

    Again: Some folks are living in the past when they were the alpha, that's all.

  20. Ew +Chris Brogan Seriously, that is the ickiest thing I've read all day, and I was reading about presidential politics earlier today! Could you sound more condescending?

    I'm not going to argue that you have to like Pinterest, it's a matter of taste surely.

    But it's pretty obnoxious to explain the massive adoption and traffic to and from and between women with a simple dismissive reference to a hairdo and a cute boy (to some, anyway…I don't get the Gosling fever myself.)

    Let's see, what do I use Pinterest for?

    Well, yes, what to make for dinner…I'm vegan, and I find lots of great creative new ideas.

    Creative organization and workspace ideas…lots of folks share how they create ergonomic and efficient spaces.

    Funny, entertaining quotes, tee-shirt, illustrations. often geeky. Pure entertainment, little different than LolCats or Penny Arcade.

    Mostly, it's an idea-generator. I save things I might do some day. Things I'll never do, but think are cool. It's about creativity. I still use Twitter and Google+ more than Pinterest, but Pinterest exercises a different part of my brain, and it's enjoyable to do so.

    And holy crap, does it drive traffic…but that's another story :)

  21. So +Chris Brogan you are saying that even though the functionality is (nearly) the same, you prefer one network over another because of the people (aka content) it attracts? I can agree with that. What I find strange, among many other things, is rather than just start boards on Pinterest and curate content that would appeal to men, there was a need to go someplace else. THAT above all else is the dynamic that fascinates me.

    By the way, you need to curate more superhero stuff. ;) It fits your personality, if not your 'brand', and to be honest it's just damn cool. No business hooks, just cool.

  22. Look at the last 30 items pinned and tell me how gender-preferenced they are. I'm not making it up.

  23. Lynette – my point is that the wide open view is mostly not my boat. It's content specific. We agree.

  24. But one doesn't have to look at the last 30 items pinned, one gets to look at the pins of the people they follow. The basic point of any social network and community. I follow cool people who pin things that interest me :)

    Now, to be fair, this is why it's been historically hard to engage women on YouTube or Digg (I did say "historically"), because in all likelihood the latest 30 comments would be misogynistic or pornographic!

    Although I'm certainly not comparing misogyny's effect on the environment for women to Ryan Gosling's effect on the environment for men.

    I just see it as interesting that women re encouraged to make themselves comfortable in male-dominated spaces…that so often it's put on women to "lean in" and "not leave" or whatever, even if the environment is less than welcoming. And I'd be fine with that if the recommendation went both ways.

    My recommendations certainly go both ways!

  25. +Elisa Camahort Page – I guess what I'm saying is that I love Pinterest, and I'm thrilled that it's a predominantly female site. I love Gentlemint because they've taken one step out of the effort, and that the curation premise of the site is slanted towards things a guy might find interesting. I see nothing foul or negative in having that opinion. I also don't spend a lot of time sifting through republican dogma, nor democratic dogma, nor do I read the Boston Herald. Just preferences. : )

  26. I figured I should go visit Gentlemint since I'm wagging my tongue about it. It looks exactly like Pinterest, except, of course, the URL. What it all comes down to is branding.

  27. +Lynette Young – it's fairly similar. The only difference is that it caters to a sub niche. That's the whole point I have. The premise, in its entirety, is that people will use tools like this to group around things they love, like… Rick Springfield, or knives, or whatever.

  28. It seems to me that with some very minor additions to the user interface, Pinterest could easily enable the ability to group up interest areas & preferences for users. As it is, you can browse by a single category right now from the front page. The idea that we need to go to a different Pinterest for each type of interest seems asinine to me. Isn't this what computers and databases are supposed to make easy & seamless for us?

  29. It seems to me that with some very minor additions to the user interface, Pinterest could easily enable the ability to group up interest areas & preferences for users. As it is, you can browse by a single category right now from the front page. The idea that we need to go to a different Pinterest for each type of interest seems asinine to me. Isn't this what computers and databases are supposed to make easy & seamless for us?

  30. It seems to me that with some very minor additions to the user interface, Pinterest could easily enable the ability to group up interest areas & preferences for users. As it is, you can browse by a single category right now from the front page. The idea that we need to go to a different Pinterest for each type of interest seems asinine to me. Isn't this what computers and databases are supposed to make easy & seamless for us?

  31. It seems to me that with some very minor additions to the user interface, Pinterest could easily enable the ability to group up interest areas & preferences for users. As it is, you can browse by a single category right now from the front page. The idea that we need to go to a different Pinterest for each type of interest seems asinine to me. Isn't this what computers and databases are supposed to make easy & seamless for us?

  32. It seems to me that with some very minor additions to the user interface, Pinterest could easily enable the ability to group up interest areas & preferences for users. As it is, you can browse by a single category right now from the front page. The idea that we need to go to a different Pinterest for each type of interest seems asinine to me. Isn't this what computers and databases are supposed to make easy & seamless for us?

  33. Aw did you just call me out for Rick Springfield?! o_O

    My major beef is that in the beginning people blew off Pinterest because it was for chicks. Now that the link love is flowin' they are backpeddling and at the same time bitching that Pinterest is for chicks. Not every social network is engineered for the Internet marketer in mind – sometimes they are just places to meet other people with the same interests. It's been mainly marketers that I see/hear bitching that Pinterest has too much estrogen.

  34. Aw did you just call me out for Rick Springfield?! o_O

    My major beef is that in the beginning people blew off Pinterest because it was for chicks. Now that the link love is flowin' they are backpeddling and at the same time bitching that Pinterest is for chicks. Not every social network is engineered for the Internet marketer in mind – sometimes they are just places to meet other people with the same interests. It's been mainly marketers that I see/hear bitching that Pinterest has too much estrogen.

  35. Aw did you just call me out for Rick Springfield?! o_O

    My major beef is that in the beginning people blew off Pinterest because it was for chicks. Now that the link love is flowin' they are backpeddling and at the same time bitching that Pinterest is for chicks. Not every social network is engineered for the Internet marketer in mind – sometimes they are just places to meet other people with the same interests. It's been mainly marketers that I see/hear bitching that Pinterest has too much estrogen.

  36. Aw did you just call me out for Rick Springfield?! o_O

    My major beef is that in the beginning people blew off Pinterest because it was for chicks. Now that the link love is flowin' they are backpeddling and at the same time bitching that Pinterest is for chicks. Not every social network is engineered for the Internet marketer in mind – sometimes they are just places to meet other people with the same interests. It's been mainly marketers that I see/hear bitching that Pinterest has too much estrogen.

  37. Aw did you just call me out for Rick Springfield?! o_O

    My major beef is that in the beginning people blew off Pinterest because it was for chicks. Now that the link love is flowin' they are backpeddling and at the same time bitching that Pinterest is for chicks. Not every social network is engineered for the Internet marketer in mind – sometimes they are just places to meet other people with the same interests. It's been mainly marketers that I see/hear bitching that Pinterest has too much estrogen.

  38. +Lynette Young – no, my point was there's a marketplace for everyone.

    And I think people are silly for calling out Pinterest in either case. I think it's awesome. : )

  39. +Lynette Young – no, my point was there's a marketplace for everyone.

    And I think people are silly for calling out Pinterest in either case. I think it's awesome. : )

  40. +Lynette Young – no, my point was there's a marketplace for everyone.

    And I think people are silly for calling out Pinterest in either case. I think it's awesome. : )

  41. +Lynette Young – no, my point was there's a marketplace for everyone.

    And I think people are silly for calling out Pinterest in either case. I think it's awesome. : )

  42. +Lynette Young – no, my point was there's a marketplace for everyone.

    And I think people are silly for calling out Pinterest in either case. I think it's awesome. : )

  43. Following on +Elisa Camahort Page 's observation that social media activity is already being dominated by women (something which I didn't know, but suddenly seems intuitively obvious) — the reason it's so evident on Pinterest is precisely because it's Pinterest. It's a visual Twitter, and since we humans are awesome at processing visuals, we can immediately tell who's using the service. If Twitter required us to post a visual of something we're interested in every time we tweeted, we'd see the same thing.

  44. Following on +Elisa Camahort Page 's observation that social media activity is already being dominated by women (something which I didn't know, but suddenly seems intuitively obvious) — the reason it's so evident on Pinterest is precisely because it's Pinterest. It's a visual Twitter, and since we humans are awesome at processing visuals, we can immediately tell who's using the service. If Twitter required us to post a visual of something we're interested in every time we tweeted, we'd see the same thing.

  45. Following on +Elisa Camahort Page 's observation that social media activity is already being dominated by women (something which I didn't know, but suddenly seems intuitively obvious) — the reason it's so evident on Pinterest is precisely because it's Pinterest. It's a visual Twitter, and since we humans are awesome at processing visuals, we can immediately tell who's using the service. If Twitter required us to post a visual of something we're interested in every time we tweeted, we'd see the same thing.

  46. Following on +Elisa Camahort Page 's observation that social media activity is already being dominated by women (something which I didn't know, but suddenly seems intuitively obvious) — the reason it's so evident on Pinterest is precisely because it's Pinterest. It's a visual Twitter, and since we humans are awesome at processing visuals, we can immediately tell who's using the service. If Twitter required us to post a visual of something we're interested in every time we tweeted, we'd see the same thing.

  47. Following on +Elisa Camahort Page 's observation that social media activity is already being dominated by women (something which I didn't know, but suddenly seems intuitively obvious) — the reason it's so evident on Pinterest is precisely because it's Pinterest. It's a visual Twitter, and since we humans are awesome at processing visuals, we can immediately tell who's using the service. If Twitter required us to post a visual of something we're interested in every time we tweeted, we'd see the same thing.

  48. guy plus pinterest plus garden in Brooklyn
    http://pinterest.com/federaltwist/

  49. There is some humor available if one observes new users on Pinterest….seeing male users find their way to the site is like watching a lonely lion inching his way toward the herd. Truly…watch the new user pins…you can identify the new male user; watch his one or two pins as he awaits a response from the "female" audience; and, after he gets a few likes, he's in. I'm observing more male-centric content on Pinterest, which is great. That said, I think one could argue that there are several social niche sites catering to a male user, i.e., Piccsy (?). However, the greater point that +Lynette Young is making is also true (and irksome). Pinterest is always described in the press as the unexpected (as in, can you believe women pinning pictures could lead to positive commerce?) engine that could. Why is it such a surprise? Women comprise 51% of the population; generally run and manage household budgets; and, were (prior to Pinterest) in dire need of social networking spaces with less background noise. (I took a look at Gentlemint and laughed. I actually think the site is clever – excluding the 'Color Your Poo' post by +Chris Brogan. But maybe that type of post is the point behind Gentlemint?)

  50. +Shannon Kulik — funny observations. From the "lonely lion" side of the fence, I have to say you've pretty much nailed the way I've been messing around with Pinterest and seeing if I can get people interested in my pins. There's definitely an addictive quality to it…