What The Stats and The “Experts” Say
Men prefer Google+ to Pinterest. Well, statistically speaking anyhow.
Google+ has 90 million users. Two-thirds of them are men.
Women, however, make up 70%–80% of Pinterest’s 10.4 million user base and comprise 97% of its fans on Facebook.
As often happens, with the appearance of gender preference, arrives the implication that the product/service preferred by men must be superior. So it is with the buzz around Google+.
Huffington Post reporter Bianca Bosker polled her Google+ followers and, based on their feedback, concluded the “service’s primary purpose is to deliver information, spark discovery and foster conversation between users scattered all over the world”.
Vapid Women? Intellectual Men?
(Oops. Is that a fifty cent word? Women don your dictionaries.)
But while some respondents focused on the service’s advantages, others made use of the opportunity to disparage social media sites more closely associated with women.
Bosker notes that users credited “higher quality discussion… to the design of the site and its population of early adopters”. One respondent said “FB [Facebook] is like a gossip place… But the content is the important thing here”. Another replied, “On Google+ I really do feel like the average IQ of my online experience has doubled”.
Pinterest comes in for some spiteful belittling as seen in following graph (reposted or liked 2047 times as of February 1) from the blog “I Love Charts.”
These stats and the subtle, and not-so-subtle, insinuations making the rounds are authored by: @Techland @HuffPostTech @NetworkWorld @techcrunch and Good Magazine (Hating on the Ladies: The Real Backlash Against Pinterest) among others.
The jist of it seems to be Pinterest is full of superficial and rather pointless activities enjoyed by vapid women with time to waste. Google+ on the other hand, is a site dedicated to more intellectual pursuits and “conversation hubs”.
Ironically, the United States Army has a Pinterest account which, among other things, “presents a great platform for recruiting new soldiers”.
What Are These Sites, Anyhow?
Google+ much like Facebook provides for conversation and interest sharing between old friends and/or new ones. Its two big advantages are: permitting users to categorize sharing, and indexing posts which can drive traffic to users’ websites.
Pinterest at its most basic is creative curating, a “social commerce cleverly disguised as an aspirational visual scrapbook”. See how the health care industry uses Pinterest.
Grant McCracken over at Harvard Business Review, notes it is also, inadvertently, a rich source of information. “A lot of anthropology, ethnography, and market research is a search for the categories in people’s heads, so this is research for free, and the scholarly and commercial applications are extraordinary”. Unnervingly this view is echoed by Brendan Gallagher of Digitalis Health, who can “see pharmaceutical brands keeping an eye on the ‘disease state’ category”.
In the numbers wars, Pinterest “now beats YouTube, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace for percentage of total referral traffic in January according to a Shareaholic study.” As of mid-Febraury 2012 Pinterest had over 10 million unique monthly users – which means it is growing faster than any other site.
And this while Google+ seems to have stalled.
Both sites have advantages for marketing; both have strong appeal for networking and social interaction. But, while Google+ may pick up more female users with time, the predictions are that large numbers of men will not be joining Pinterest, although the majority of users in the UK are men. Once a site becomes “tarred” with the feminine brush, men seldom look past the stereotype.
So, does this say more about social media in general, Pinterest, Google+, cultural stereotypes, real differences between intellectual men and vapid women, something else, or all of the above?
And on a related topic you might enjoy this little tongue in cheek, video about vapid women who need to know their limits.