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The Dudes Have Found Pinterest!

Clear the way, folks: the men have decided! Pinterest actually has value.

I’ve been watching the social media networks light up these last few weeks discussing Pinterest, how it’s important, how brands are beginning to pay attention. Then this infographic appeared on Monetate all about how Pinterest is a huge traffic driver for retail and all of a sudden all the social media guys were like, OH SH*T! We thought it was just for girls.

I’m not in total disagreement with the way most men react to Pinterest (including my husband, who pinned three things and then declared it boring). As a non-artsy, non-crafty, non-decorator type person that also happens to be the proud owner of a uterus, Pinterest left me fairly cold for a long time. Like most men discussing Pinterest now, I really just hadn’t given it a fair shake. The truth is, it’s absolutely one of the most unique spots on the web, a place where anyone can curate all kinds of interests. While women far outnumber men on the site, Pinterest like any social network is what you make it, after all.

Pinterest, of course, is not the only social media site that women fell in love with first. There have always been more women then men on Facebook; you’ll note in this TechCrunch article in 2007 that Facebook was 2/3 women at the time (the ratio now is a bit closer, but women still outnumber men in all age brackets). Women are, naturally, more social than men in general so why wouldn’t they gravitate toward social networks?

It’s particularly interesting to see how different men are reacting to the buzz Pinterest is getting. C. C. Chapman (someone I like and respect a great deal) tweeted this morning that he couldn’t believe he’d written about Pinterest (see picture above). His article, however, is quite smart and fair:

There is no argument that the majority of Pinterest users are women. Take one look at it and that becomes quickly obvious.

But, I love that Pinterest allows you the user to choose if you want to follow everything someone pins or just what they pin to certain boards. I’ve found myself going into every woman’s account that I follow and unfollowing any boards that might have to do with fashion, jewelery or anything else I’m not interested in. This goes for guys as well because as humans we are all interested in different things. This site is only useful to me, if I tweak it to the point that I find value in it.

Brian Howard at The Philly Post is now a fan of Pinterest, but he discussed his initial reactions to it in this post.

But seriously, I started hearing about this “pinboard” site a month or so ago. And if we’re being honest, I’d heard about it only from girls—who spoke so giddily  of “pinning” that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. I like to think of myself as a guy who’s in touch with his sensitive side, but the whole thing sounded like some sort of hybrid of scrapbooking and mash notes, aka, the last thing in the world I wanted anything to do with.

Brian (and his girlfriend, who he quotes) talk about how Pinterest has the chance to be far more than a visual scrapbooking site how it can be a place for serious visual curation. This potential is what I, too, love about Pinterest.

But some men just aren’t having it, and that’s where the copycats step in, such as Gentlemint (ironically, on the homepage of Gentlemint I spotted at least a dozen things I’d first seen… on Pinterest). Chris Brogan spoke about how Gentlemint is about “targeted social curation.”

See how it’s much more interesting to build an environment where people with similar passions can curate and share together? Look at Gentlemint again, and realize that this is kind of like Esquire magazine without the meaty articles. By the way, you could just as easily have the articles. It just requires people to write them and tack them to ‘Mint.

Which is a very interesting point, however, even Chris Brogan admits that the software (and the whole 12 hours of work the creators of Gentlemint put into it) is better on Pinterest, so it seems to me that the smart thing to do would be to go both where the people are AND where the content is when it comes to targeted marketing.

What do you think? Are men being shortsighted and undervaluing Pinterest, or would you rather it stay focused on things that interest women more than men?

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