Years ago a book was published by John Gray entitled “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus”. Whatever your opinion is or was of the book the one thing the book does point out…men and women for the most part are different, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.
When it comes to social media, Pinterest is a perfect example. Demographics suggest that Pinterest is made up of 80% women and 20% men. Further, only 8% of men who are online have a Pinterest account¹.
I have read some pretty damning and quite honestly insulting articles on how “men don’t get it”, or “men don’t understand how to use it”, or “men are pig headed and stubborn”…honestly some of these self-proclaimed social media gurus and experts are less than helpful when it come to the issue. There is something much deeper and bigger here that has nothing to do with irrational name calling,
Please understand that I have heard the argument that men do not Pinterest because most of the subject matter does not appeal to them. This does not appear to be the case as there is a pinning site specifically designed with this in mind called…wait for it…Manterest. Yes, it is what you think, scantily clad, or naked women, trucks, sports, etc. The funny part…men are not using that either.
I gave this a great deal of consideration, then by accident I had a “light bulb” moment. I was at a friends house with our wives, one of the couples was newly married, and what happened next, the women looked at pictures, the guys departed to the big screen TV to watch the game. Thinking about this while the game was on, it suddenly occurred to me that women are far more attentive in general to collecting and sharing pictures, recipes, etc.
Then I asked the question: “Do women scrapbook more than men?” I did some research collecting demographic data and the results verified my hypothesis. Let’s take a look at the trends.
As we can see when comparing scrapbooking to pinterest we see that both are hugely dominated by women. If one thinks about it for a second Pinterest is nothing more than digital scrapbooking. I do in fact think that there are 20% men on Pinterest, however, I would not be surprised if I found that their accounts were the least active. The scrapbooking numbers may in fact be more of the reality of Pinterest.
Looking at this chart from an age breakdown of scrapbooking versus Pinterest the chart makes it pretty clear that the populations are very similar. Looking at the trending it almost looks identical.
This is almost mind numbing how nearly exact the income is of scrapbookers and Pinterest users. If income is important to businesses using Pinterest they need to be looking at scrapbookers as well.
At first glance it may seem like there is a dramatic difference, but look again, these are still two highly educated groups. As a matter of fact if you combine “some college” with “Bachelors degree” it is almost exactly the same.
Recently I have read some of my social media marketing friends are attempting to push men toward Pinterest by appealing to the business benefits. While the SEO and marketing benefits have potential, there is something they have all neglected with few exceptions…it is just not a compelling platform to men, for the most part they are not emotionally motivated to use it, because they do not enjoy the experience.
This is the point that people are missing. This is a psychological issue, not a logical issue. It’s not a question of, “they don’t know how”, or “they are pigs”, or “they don’t understand the benefits”. It is a question of emotional motivation. If people do not enjoy it, they will not be reinforced for using it.
Why is this such a problem?
Honestly I do not know why people are pushing so hard to get men to use this platform. At times it seems that they are attempts have been paid for by Pinterest. Now I have no evidence to support that statement one way or another, but I find it interesting that so many people are trying so hard to make pinterest interesting for men. Why cannot we accept that they just do not like to do it.
It’s not just a U.S. Problem
So I happened to find a piece of research that is about to be published this year, the working title is entitled, “Pinned it! A Large Scale Study of the Pinterest Network” In this research they had this lovely little chart.
Interesting isn’t it. Especially as you look at the left column Pinterest is a clearly a female dominated platform across the world. There is something certainly much more deeper than incompetence. The only country that is the exception…India, which is interesting in of itself. I am not sure what that says, as I do not have enough experience with the culture of India to know why this might even be the case.
The quicker you get to acceptance the less psychological reactance
There is another issue here, and that is some people do not want to accept the facts. They want to somehow believe that they just need to appeal to the rationale and then it will be solved. Again, this is not a logic issue, this is an emotional issue. Why do you think some movies are more dominated by women than men or visa versa? It’s because they appeal more to one gender than another.
The error that some social media experts and gurus are making is that they keep trying to push Pinterest down the male’s throat. Psychologically this tactic quite often produce the exact opposite effect, the more you push, the more resistance one can expect. It may be that they will go out of their way to never use it…you will be in fact have unintentionally created psychological reactance.
I remember being forced to see the movie Titanic, I hate dramatic movies, I went anyway to please my wife. 20 minutes into the movie I yelled in the theater, “Sink the damn ship already!”…I have never been back to a dramatic movie since 1998 and I will never go again I don’t like them, and when I am forced to go, the more I have a distaste for them. My point is here do not keep trying to force men to want to like Pinterest, you are only driving them further away.
The Final Point
Sometimes folks we just have to accept that males and females are different. That we enjoy different things. I don’t force my wife to like football, or try to convince her it is a good idea because that knowledge could open conversations for her business. I do not force her to like fishing, power-lifting, or the dozens of things I enjoy that she doesn’t, and she treats me with the same respect, even those those thing may in fact have some benefit for our businesses.
There is a big world out there in social media, some of it is going to be dominated by different groups. They could be younger or older, blue collar or white collar, educated or not so educated, and yes even male or female…the fact is…it’s really okay.
Stay Successful My Friends!
Jay Izso, the Internet Doctor®