In case you haven't heard, Pinterest is the rising star of social media networks on the web and women are its main curators.
Pinterest is an invite-only community that works like photo-centric social bookmarking site where users can create virtual "boards" based on certain themes like home décor, fashion, DIY crafts and recipes, and post -- or in this case "pin" -- their favourite images with notes and links back to the original sources. The social aspect is you can follow other users and re-pin their content onto your own boards thus sharing them with your own followers.
Growing from 10 million to 17 million users in three weeks and being named a top five referrer of traffic surpassed only by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Yahoo!, Pinterest has quickly become one of the fastest growing social networks on the web.
A recent report by Experian Hitwise, a consumer behaviour analytics firm, found 58 per cent of users (a.k.a. Pinners) were of the double-x chromosome variety between the ages of 25 and 44, while data from Google Ad Planner pegs the demographic dichotomy at 80 per cent women and 20 per cent men.
The heavy female skew explains why Pinterest is most often known for its popular use of helping brides-to-be organize their weddings, foodies organize their favourite recipes via pornographic shots of food, and fashionistas organize their fashion and accessory wish lists.
As a result the network has even been dubbed as "Tumblr for the ladies" and conversations over Twitter seemed to support the sentiment as well.
The fact of the matter is social networking sites are often driven by female users who spend 30 per cent more time on these sites than their male counterparts, according to Comscore. Thus the heavier usage by women is not out of the ordinary in the least. However how the network expanded is.
"When a website or application is launched in new media, it's usually young men that adopt it first until it hits the tipping point and then everyone else joins on," says Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image and digital marketing expert. "But not the case with Pinterest. It has been unique in its growth."
Rather than wooing tech journalists and early adopters first, Pinterest slowly grew a dedicated base of users -- predominantly women in California and Texas, followed by states like Utah, Alabama and Tennessee. As they invited their friends, who invited their friends, the tech savvy eventually caught wind of it, published blogs and articles about it until it has now exploded as one of 2012's hottest websites.
To that point, I wasn't invited to Pinterest by the dozens of social media experts or digital journalists I call my colleagues, but instead by an old high school gal pal who uses the Internet in a minimal capacity back in December 2011.
Despite the strong female user backbone, men have started to jump on the bandwagon, with a popular blog post by Dave Copeland titled A Guy's Guide to Pinterest circulating on various sites making the case for Pinterest having the capacity to be appealing to men.
"After just a few days of playing with it, I'm not sure I 'get' Pinterest just yet, but I like it," writes Copeland. "If creativity is defined as taking two or more seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts and finding a way to link them together, Pinterest may be a breeding ground for visual creativity."
And with 32 different topics for boards ranging from Geek, to Technology, to Photography and Fitness, perhaps more men will share Copeland's curiosity for this highly-visual community site and begin balancing the content being curated on Pinterest.
By: Anastasia "Nat" Tubanos