Pinterest Succeeds by Giving Ladies What They Want

Illustration for article titled Pinterest Succeeds by Giving Ladies What They Want

The fact that 80% of Pinterestusers are women has naturally led the site — the latest social network darling — to be denigrated by the rest of the internet as something "confusing" and ultimately frivolous for its users' focus on domesticity, weddings, fashion, crafting, and home decor. Obviously this line of thought is sexist. But it's also stupid — a new study finds that Pinterest drives more traffic than YouTube, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace. It would seem that Pinterest — the "virtual pinboard" that "allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web" — is a force to be reckoned with, on par with the likes of Twitter. (While the Internet Boys Club might not understand the virtues of mood boards, certainly they understand those of traffic stats.) So what is it that makes Pinterest — which is inherently gender neutral — so implicitly "girly"? Perhaps the answer lies in how easily the site allows women to connect with, share, and organize their aspirations.

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Women use Pinterest to curate their own domestic and aesthetic fantasies. It's the place to collect their ideas — upholstered headboards; decorating with dress forms; nail art; DIY hopscotch bean bags; rag roil curl tutorial; recipe for brownies that look like burgers; polka dot wrapping paper; elements of a dream wedding — arrange them in a way that's equally stylish, and store them for possible later use as inspiration for making their lives a little prettier, tastier, easier.

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Appealing to women's reverie and creativity has long proven successful. The power of aspiration has driven the fashion magazine industry for the last century with artfully-lit editorials of women wearing beautiful things in beautiful settings. Something as simple as Pinterest has become a powerhouse because it's distilled this idea down — It doesn't really have words! It's mostly pretty pictures! — and is fueled by aspiration alone. What's fascinating about Pinterest is that it seems to have identified what women want from the internet by simply allowing women to identify what they want. Period.

Pinterest Drives More Traffic Than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn Combined [Mashable]
Pinterest Is Tumblr for Ladiez [Gizmodo]
Who's Using Pinterest? Yup, It's Mostly Ladies [ReadWriteWeb]

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DISCUSSION

At the risk of sounding like a hipster, Pinterest is really starting to get on my nerves. It used to be a lot better. Now it's being flooded with bible verses and hokey sayings in horrible typefaces (comic sans, eww) and really bad tracking/kerning. I've had to unfollow people who all they post are pictures of babies in clever positioning/lighting/cute props. I mean, one or two babies is fine... but 50?

There's also the strange thing where someone will post pictures of really skinny models under their "body inspiration" boards. It creeps me out.

Though I will say, I'm still hooked. It helped me plan my wedding. I think it's just one big personal vision board.

I try to filter out the cheesy stuff though.