Guys: Nothing About Pinterest Is Gender Specific. Get Over It.

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Pinterest Screenshot - Board of Man
It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything about Pinterest.

Since my last post (back in November) Pinterest has completely blown up.

It’s now bigger than LinkedIn (launched: May 2003) and drives nearly as much referral traffic as Twitter (launched: March 2006).

Pinterest launched less than a year ago (March 2010) and is still in invite-only private beta.

Ponder that for a moment.

Now, there are a handful of other things I find interesting about Pinterest, among them:

  • The prioritization of visuals over text (including the slick site design and mobile apps)
  • Ease of sharing (similar to Tumblr,  the options are limited to “repin” and “like”)
  • Social content curation with the addition of context and categorization (aka: the interest graph) to add value to existing content
  • The rise of simple, single function social networks in opposition to feature-bloated behemoths like Facebook, Twitter and Google+
  • And the big one: implications for social commerce (something none of the larger social networking sites have quite nailed yet)

You’ve probably also noticed (or at least heard) that the majority of Pinterest users are female. 80% female by some accounts.

This is notable because the growth of tech startups in general and new social networking sites in particular has almost without exception been driven by male early adopters.

That women could embrace a new social network so quickly has many (mostly male) observers completely confused, confounded…and, in some cases, on the attack.

The attacks leveled at Pinterest are, on the whole, pretty ridiculous.

They remind me a lot of the early attacks on Twitter.

Pinterest (some say) is just women posting about weddings! and shoes! and hairstyles! and makeup! and other…”girl stuff”! (Subtext: so it’s clearly not to be taken seriously in spite of its rapid growth and already formidable size and revenue potential…because it’s for girls!)

That’s ridiculous.

There is really nothing gender-specific whatsoever about the site itself. It’s just a tool. Like any number of the other social networking sites we use all the time.

You can post, like, re-post, comment on and categorize anything you like. Even really, really (really) manly stuff.

Remember back when Twitter was just a bunch of people (read: men) talking about what they were having for lunch? Yeah, it’s kind of like that. But with pictures.

Personally speaking, I think Pinterest is great!

I’ve been on Pinterest for a little while now (you can follow me here) and I can assure you that it is completely safe. For dudes.

I use it primarily as a more visual form of social bookmarking that helps me collect some particular types of odds and ends from around the web that don’t neatly fit into any of my more rigid, text-based categorization schemes.

Oh, and where else would I bookmark women’s shoes and wedding dresses? (Yes, that’s a little joke. Don’t worry.)

Pinterest knock-offs are silly.

Finally, I am completely perplexed by things like Gentlemint (a Pinterest knock-offs for dudes, note: also in “invitation only” private beta).

Something like this might be an ok short-term strategy (except that they still don’t seem to be approving invites and the clock is ticking…), but I think the long-term potential of this sort of thing is incredibly limited. Here’s why:

You know what would make a great “Pinterest for dudes”? How about Pinterest.

Here’s one particularly manly Pinboard that is already far superior (in my opinion) to the entirety of Gentlemint’s site.

The more men on Pinterest, the more stuff of interest to men on Pinterest.

So if you’re a guy complaining about Pinterest being “only for girls” my advice to you is this: give it a shot.

I think you might find that you actually like it.

Besides the ratio of male to female Pinterest users is almost certainly going to narrow over time as the site comes out of beta and reaches more widespread adoption.

So, hold on to that early adopter status, give Pinterest a try (drop me a note if you need an invite) and leave a comment and let me know what you think.