Joanna Schroeder thinks trying to divide the Pin-board market by gender is probably a recipe for failure.
Yeah, Pinterest is definitely overpopulated with photos of wedding dresses and cupcakes that look like teeny princesses. Being as I’m firmly against wedding culture and completely lacking in the “arts and crafts” gene that supposedly comes along with boobs and a uterus, I get annoyed with all the flounce and frill on Pinterest as well.
It’s not surprising that in response to all the men (and probably some ladies who think like me), a crop of man-oriented sites that function like Pinterest—virtual pin-boards—have popped up, focusing on dude stuff. CNN looked into this new trend:
Unlike Pinterest, however, these sites have fewer photos of wedding dresses and more pics of beards, babes, guns, Harleys and bottles of whiskey.
Here’s the reason I think this will fail. Yeah, Pinterest is populated with girlie stuff when you first start. But it’s also highly customizable. Over the first few weeks that I joined, I saw less wedding dresses and more of the stuff I like—art, music, green architecture, skate/surf culture, social justice issues and some style stuff. Amazingly, the style stuff fits in with my aesthetic: not high fashion, but jeans and vintage tees. This is because of what I’ve “liked” and repinned. The more I pin, the better it gets.
And yeah, Pinterest is 85% women, but it’s also one of the top social media sites in the world with 20 million users. Consumers want to be in on what’s successful. While “the next hot thing” is fun to try, it seems that what’s big just gets bigger. Facebook used to be considered just for teens and college students and now my 94 year old grandpa uses it (you should read his status updates!).
So what will make the man-pin sites work? CNN explains how the use of stereotypical “manly” block lettering and monochromatic layouts are aimed at making men feel welcome. They also use macho language:
Then there’s the testosterone-laden choice of words. Instead of “Pin It,” users on these websites can “Nail It” (Manteresting), “Dart It” (Dartitup) and “Save to Your Mint” (Gentlemint). Dudepins’ slogans are “Dudes like sharing stuff” and “Man Up. Sign Up. Pin Up.”
So here’s a question: Are sites like this filling a need for men, or promoting stereotypes? CNN interviewed Ricardo Poupada, co-founder of AskMen.com:
AskMen’s Poupada believes men share content differently than women and are more likely to share that which is representative of stereotypical male interests.
“It’s more about what your stuff says about you,” he said. “The sharing is very much in line with what society dictates to us. If a guy talks about calorie counting, he will be ostracized.”
“There will always be places to be gender-specific,” he said. “There will always be the [male] equivalent of Pinterest. But the beauty of the Web is you can never stop anyone else from joining. The medium doesn’t allow it.”
While I agree that a site aimed at men is a great idea (says Senior Editor of The Good Men Project), Pinterest is the originator of this format, and with something so customizable and adept at giving users what they like, it seems trying to divide the user base is merely a way to set yourself up for being the eternal “runner up”.
To me, the fundamental layout of Pinterest doesn’t seem girlie, it’s not pink and flowery, but I’m a girl so I may be missing something. My guess is that the best hopes for the man-pin sites is that you end up being the one Pinterest chooses to to acquire in order to integrate more men into their user base…
So I’m handing this over to you, GMP readers. Is Pinterest’s layout, verbiage and design too girlie? What should Pinterest do to adapt and be more inviting to men?
Do you use Pinterest? How about these other man-focused pin board sites? Will the manly sites succeed?
Photo of male shoes, glasses, bottle courtesy of Shutterstock
ZZ Top photo: AP