NEW YORK (MainStreet) — In the less than two years since it launched, Pinterest has gone from being a little-known start-up site to one of the 10 most popular social networks in the world, even surpassing Google+ for total visits in December. Yet even as Pinterest’s popularity skyrockets, it continues to have trouble appealing to one rather large demographic: men.
A recent report from Ignite Social Media finds that just 20% of Pinterest’s users are men, confirming the assumptions that many have had about the site for months. Blogs such as Material Instinct have referred to the site as “catnip for women,” while the tech site Gizmodo recently dubbed it “Tumblr for Ladiez.” On the surface, it’s not hard to see why.
For those who haven’t used Pinterest, it basically functions like Twitter or Tumblr but with an even greater emphasis on visual elements. Rather than simply linking to a particular Web site, members are prompted to “pin” their favorite photo from that page to a particular board (or category) along with a short description, which will then show up for users who follow them. In effect, each user acts as a curator assembling catalogs of their favorite online content, and more often than not, that content appears to focus on fashion, design, weddings, pets and food. You know, not “guy stuff.”
To be sure, there’s nothing wrong with a Web site focusing primarily on women, except that Pinterest strives to be gender neutral. In fact, the social network was founded by two men who frequently use the site to post about clever T-shirts, fighting robots and DIY projects they’d like to take on. What’s more, there have already been multiple sites such as WhereIsTheCool and GentleMint that take Pinterest’s format and specifically target men, showing there is nothing inherently feminine about Pinterest’s model – what matters is how the community uses it.