Updated: July 6, 2012 8:46AM
Pinterest is for women.
That’s my impression after a month of having an account on the latest social media platform, Pinterest. Like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is designed for users to share things they like with friends online.
Social media is popular among parents and for good reason. Parents can share pictures of their children with friends and relatives with the click of a button. It also quickly and easily allows users to stay in touch with folks who might otherwise be lost over time.
Facebook seems to be the most popular platform among parents. I check the website daily and try to post a couple of items each week. As a stay-at-home parent, Facebook is my social outlet. I don’t get to rehash the weekend with co-workers or talk sports with a friendly commuter on the train. Facebook is where I turn for social interaction with adults.
For some parents, Facebook quickly becomes addictive. I can understand why. It feels good when a dozen or so people “like” your status update, particularly after you thanklessly cleaned up after a toddler all day. Curiosity can also take over and soon you’re browsing vacation photos posted by someone you vaguely remember from high school gym class.
“I had to get off of there,” one mom told me recently about her Facebook account. “I was spending too much time on the computer.”
I’ve been able to manage my time on Facebook. And I even dabble with Twitter. These two social media platforms sound similar, but they are actually very different. Twitter is more topical. I tend to “follow” people on Twitter based on their interests and insight. Thus, I rarely post pictures of my boys on Twitter. But when Donna Summer died and Paul Konerko hit his 400th home run for the White Sox my Twitter feed blew up.
It was after delving into Facebook and Twitter that I decided to give Pinterest a try. Pinterest describes itself as an online corkboard, where you “pin” interesting items from the Internet. So if you find an engaging article online, you can pin that to your page as though you clipped it from the newspaper and put it on a bulletin board at home. Your friends can then read the article and even re-pin it onto their own board.
Upon signing up for my account, Pinterest scanned all of my Facebook friends. I immediately began to follow all of my Facebook friends who also had Pinterest accounts. This started me off with 102 friends. Six of them were men and only two of my male Pinterest pals posted anything in the last two months.
I’d logged on daily for about a week, before I made a connection. Pinterest is strikingly similar to paging through The Wife’s latest issue of “Real Simple” magazine. The people I follow — mainly moms — routinely pinned recipes, cleaning tips and crafty projects like using hairspray and glitter to make tooth fairy money.
Some of the ideas were cute, I guess. And a few of the recipes looked good, but I was bored with Pinterest after three days. I also was a little turned off by posts picturing the latest high-heeled shoes, how-to guides for women’s hairstyles and photos of shirtless firefighters.
It takes a lot for me to say something is “for women.” Hell, there are plenty of people out there who still think being a stay-at-home parent is exclusively for females. But I just don’t see how Pinterest possibly appeals to men.
Of course, this could change. At one point Facebook appealed just to college students. Now, I shake my head in disapproval at most of the Facebook posts I see from college kids … that’s after spending two minutes closely examining all 25 pictures he or she posted from a night of binge drinking.
Perhaps, I’m also spending too much time on the computer.
Howard A. Ludwig is a former SouthtownStar business writer who traded his reporter’s notebook for a diaper bag, becoming a stay-at-home dad.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.