Why Pinterest isn’t just for girls anymore

Image from Pinterest.com

Kira Roberts, Layout Editor

Confession: I am a quote person.  This is one of the many reasons I love Pinterest.  One of my favorite pins ever was an e-card that said, “Someday we’ll all find out Pinterest is a conspiracy created by a group of men who are tricking women everywhere into cooking, cleaning, and working out.”  Leave it to this site to constantly provide me with things that make me laugh! But really, this quote (like many) is so funny because of its truth.  Or at least that’s how Pinterest used to be!

If I’m being honest, I know that this probably isn’t going to convince any guys to actually join the Pinterest bandwagon (I’m not even sure I would encourage it because of the associated social stigma), but I think it’s important to recognize how quickly this site is growing and how many different kinds of groups and individuals it appeals to.

Pinterest was started early in the year 2010 and is already becoming one of the leading social networking sites.  For those of you who don’t know (I’m assuming mostly guys), Pinterest is an online “content sharing service that allows members to ‘pin’ images, videos and other objects to their pin board,” according to their website.  From what I gathered, it is right behind Facebook and Twitter, even rivaling Twitter in many areas.

As with most statistics on the Internet, everywhere I looked had different numbers for the percent of women versus men who use Pinterest. However, most sites showed a rise in the number of male users during the past year, going from about 80% women and 20% men to around 70% women and 30% men.  Not only has it risen in popularity for guys, but it has also become a prime outlet for business branding and promotion.  In fact, I would even be bold enough to say that businesses are lacking a well-rounded online presence if they aren’t active on Pinterest.

While wedding boards and dream shopping carts are prominent for women wasting time in class or work, this site is especially inspiring when it comes to avenues like photography and design.  Statistics show that the most popular categories tend to be Food and Drink, DIY projects, Art and Design, Women’s Fashion, and Photography, but Travel, Film/Music/Books, Humor, and Education are also common (www.repinly.com/stats).  As for guys (and many girls I’m sure), the Cars/Motorcycles, Sports, and Technology categories seem to becoming more popular as there are constantly more and more options to look at and similar people to follow.

We are in an era of ‘trending’ and Pinterest perfectly accommodates this desire to connect with other people through similar thoughts and interests.  Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to the site as well.

Screenshot of pinterest.com by Kira Roberts

One pitfall of a common place filled with so many unique ideas is that it inadvertently stifles individual creativity as people are able to simply recreate already existing ideas.  Not to say this is always the case as looking at others ideas can often stimulate originality as one thought leads to another, but sometimes it proves to be an obstacle.

Another complication that is automatically connected to Pinterest because of its comprehensive sharing opportunities is copyright infringement.  It can be dangerous for businesses to post things that they may not earn any revenue from and risk having individuals not credit the work to the rightful owner.

Despite these risks, I believe the benefits of sharing, inspiring, encouraging and connecting to other people through this most creative of outlets far outweighs the danger.  I have no doubt that Pinterest will continue to grow in popularity for both men and women of all different ages and associations and that business use will increase exponentially in the coming years.