Nearly anyone who has been to a social gathering in the past year has probably heard someone say, “Where did you find this recipe?” followed up with, “Pinterest.” With the subject of this question so often heavily tied to feminine interests, it’s not surprising that dudes think that Pinterest is for women. The demographics (80 percent of all users are women) suggest the same conclusion.
But it’s not. Pinterest is a sharing platform. It’s not that Pinterest is for women, it’s that women have mastered this online pinboard and flooded it with content they find interesting. That doesn’t mean men can’t find Pinterest useful, or even manly.
At this point, you have two options. Your first is to skip the rest of this blog, grab a bottle of bourbon, a cigar and head right over to Gentlemint. It’s a “mint of manly things,” offers similar features and the chance that a cute summer dress or adorable baby shower craft idea will invade your online man cave are minimal.
Your second option is to give Pinterest a shot with the easy steps and tips below. If after half an hour of clunking around you’re not satisfied, please revisit the above. Oh, and pass the bourbon.
Follow this rule first
Pinterest is technically still in beta, meaning you will need an invite. Email me if you would like one and I’ll be happy to help. Once you get your invitation be careful about how you find friends. I made the mistake of following all of my Facebook friends who were on Pinterest. For weeks I loathed the user experience because “follow all” left me with a few hundred users who were pinning things I did not care about. I went through and unfollowed most of them (yes, a lot of women) and started over.
Learn to follow boards, not users
When you decide to follow someone you can choose which board to follow. Boards are like topics, so if you want to follow a friend’s recipe pins but not their fashion pins, just go to the boards you’re interested in and click “follow.”
Find voices of authority that speak to you
There are a lot of brands doing a great job with Pinterest, but you have to choose wisely. Keep in mind, brands are aware that 80 percent of Pinterest users are women, so follow be sure to follow individual boards with brands. Check out Craftsmen, Men’s Health, Major League Baseball, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Men’s Journal.
This isn’t Facebook. Think of your Pinterest as a collection of things you like. You’re essentially organizing your “want to dos” or “must haves.” I’m into DIY stuff, so when I have an idea for something I want to build I’ll search Pinterest for design ideas. Recently I was researching designs for a few additions to my deck. As I found them, I pinned them to my “Outdoor Spaces” board. You can pin things to show your followers, but thinking of your pins as being for yourself will help you understand what to pin.
Use the search
If you’re living in fear of following anyone because you don’t want to be drowning with femininity, then you should learn to use the search tool well. This will help you find things you’re interested in and also followers with similar interest. Also try browsing Pinterest’s suggested topics, too.
Add the “Pin It” button
The whole idea with Pinterest is to be able to save and organize things as you stumble through the web. All-too-often you find an idea or product that you love, then it goes to a separate tab, where all great ideas go to die. Install the “Pin It” button for your browser so you can easily save these great ideas.
What do you like?
If you still don’t know how to find things you like, just start searching for things that you do. Are you a cyclist? Search “bikes.” Really like photography? Search “portraits” or “landscape photography.” If you really need a heavy dose of dude, search “mustaches,” “cuff links” or “beer” and see what you can dig up.
Create different boards for your pins. Don’t just make a “Whatever” board and put everything there. When you’re trying to find those awesome beer bottles shaped like bombs and can’t find them, you’ll thank me. What? Now you want to see those bottles? Fine, click here.
Don’t force it
As with most social platforms, don’t force anything. If you don’t have anything to pin – don’t! Use Pinterest as a tool for inspiration and ideas and don’t feel obligated to keep it up to date. In my opinion, Pinterest is a platform to be used on your own terms.
That’s right. Even though this isn’t Facebook, the hashtag still places a role on Pinterest. By tagging your pins you can help other users connect with you. Alone your pins will be lost in a sea of sun dresses and cupcake recipes. Collectively we can raise the #testosterone, one manly pin at a time.
I wouldn’t say I am a Pinterest pro, but really, who is? I just know that these guidelines helped me actually start enjoying the website. Feel free to check out my boards and see what this dude pins.