Pinterest has 99 problems, but the ladies ain’t one. Or, specifically, getting women to sign up and use their social media service, organized around scrapbooking and sharing of visual images, or “pinning.” Men, on the other hand, are less enthused with the site. According to the Wall Street Journal, 71 percent of Pinterest’s users are women, which makes Pinterest the social media service whose users skew most female.
Pinterest is apparently looking to change that. The Wall Street Journal quips as follows.
“The male experience on Pinterest has been similar to visiting a women’s department store. Now Pinterest is trying to make it easier for them to find the men’s section.”
This seems to be happening because Pinterest is looking to start selling ads, or “promoted pins.” To assist them with this endeavor, the company purchased Kosei, according to San Francisco Gate, which will help them to understand user interactions. Reports indicate that Kosei can understand more than 400 million relationships between 30 million products.
There’s a truism online that when you get something for free, you are in fact the product, and that holds true with most of social media. Where the changes at Pinterest get potentially concerning is in the further discussion at the Wall Street Journal of what Pinterest plans to do with all of this information.
“Pinterest has also modified the sign-up process so that the list of suggested interests the site recommends users follow is generated based on gender. More recently, Pinterest rolled out personalized search results where gender is factored into the results.”
Wait, what? Pinterest’s gender options right now are merely male/female/unspecified, which is horrendously cisnormative, but beyond that, since when were interests gender based?
“Some of the most popular topics on Pinterest, such as cooking, gardening and travel, interest both men and women. So the company says it has made subtle changes, such as serving up more tacos and pizzas alongside its popular baked goods and family meals when users are searching for recipe ideas.”
Because everyone knows that men can’t be gourmet chefs. Or even want to feed their family a healthy meal. Or if users identifying as male search for workout tips, they’ll get things like the following.
“[F]itness tips that are as different as the pages of ‘Men’s Fitness’ and ‘Women’s Health.’ In the past, the results for male users would have included a mix of men’s and women’s workout regimens.”
Oh, the horror.
Meanwhile, Pinterest apparently feels that its strategy is working.
“Over the past year pins for “geek” content grew 175%, “cars and motorcycles” increased 134% and “men’s fashion” jumped 122%.”
Because women hate geek things, have no interest in cars or motorcycles, and have no interest in men who look good in fashionable clothes. It’s possible that these pins are merely trending because there have been more pinnable items showing up.
What do you think about Pinterest? Should it change to “cater” to men, or is this an inevitable broadening of the site to make more money?
[Image from Family Times Magazine]