Pinterest, Google+ and the gender divide in social media

As we set up our Pinterest page, a colleague said to me, “You know that it’s mostly women on Pinterest.”

I paused. “And?…..”

“Well, that’s a good thing, because our Google+ page is seen by mostly men.”

Uh huh…

“And it’s mostly crafty lifestyle stuff on Pinterest, so we should put that kind of thing on there.”

I’m not even going to comment on the sexist comment that women are only interested in “crafty lifestyle stuff” (feel free to do so in the comments area below), as such is life in a male-dominated newsroom.

And he’s not off. We set up an Ottawa Citizen Homes page on Facebook last fall, and it has 16 fans. In the first 8 minutes of its existence, our Homes pinboard on Pinterest had 39 followers.

There’s been a lot written on Pinterest in recent days, Mashable has this great infographic on Pinterest that includes the statistics that 97 per cent of Pinterest’s Facebook fans are women, and 20 per cent of Facebook users (an impressive 2-million people) are sharing on pinboards daily.

Last summer, it emerged that 9 out of 10 Google+ users are men. Business Insider pleaded with the “women of the Internet” to join Google+.

Since then, the ratio of women to men is evening out, but Google+  users are still mostly male. (Anecdotally I can tell you that many of the people who have added me to their circles seem to be Middle Eastern men, most of whom have collections of bikini-clad women in their photo pages)

So perhaps Men are from Google+ and Women are from Pinterest (the latest chapter for the famous relationship book?)… and we can talk about male/female ratios on Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc.

But who cares? I don’t.

I’m going to be honest, I just want the eyeballs on our site.

I don’t care if it’s men or women on various social platforms, I just want to know what kinds of posts are attractive on each.

Johanna Blakley, Deputy Director of the Norman Lear Center (a media-focused think tank at the University of Southern California),  argued in a fantastic TED talk that social media is, in fact, the end of gender:

… The social media applications that we all know and love, or love to hate, are actually going to help free usfrom some of the absurd assumptions that we have as a society about gender. I think that social media is actually going to help us dismantle some of the silly and demeaning stereotypes that we see in media and advertising about gender.

You can watch the full talk here:

As a news organization (or ‘content producer’), it doesn’t matter so much who the eyeballs are, but what the eyeballs on each social media platform want to see.

And then we have to be sure to put that content there.

3 thoughts on “Pinterest, Google+ and the gender divide in social media

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