Pinterest's Categorical Fail



Lately I’ve been rather out of sorts online, pinpricked you might say.  After an inspiring day at BlogHer ‘13, the world’s largest blogging conference for women, I thought Pinterest would be the perfect format to share some motivating takeaways by leading women.  Three prompts into creating my ChangemakeHers Rising board, I was stumped.  I needed to "Choose a Category" from over 30 options, and annoyed the closest picks were Celebrities, Geeks and Other.   No better class for women's wisdom?!

Ironically, the social media conference revealed an interesting trend.  Since three men launched Pinterest in 2010, growth has zoomed to 70 million users.  And now 80% of these users are women, mostly mid-aged, higher educated, with kids.  Apparently, I am the typical user.

Pinterest user

I freely admit, the catchy images, neatly organized in clever collages have me hooked.  It's easy to get lost exploring the endless roads in the wide world of Pinterest.  Currently, Food, Fashion, Home Décor and DIY/Crafts are America's most popular pins.  Pinterest claims, “No matter what you’re interested in, there’s a place for it here” to share, discover and collect the things that inspire you.

Yet, my passions for Women Power and Sustainability have no official place.  Other shocking voids include Social Good, Issues/Activism, Faith, Politics, Business, etc.  Why isn’t this prevailing social media space better designed to fully synch with women lives and likes in this century? 

Categories are inadequately listed in the upper right search box, Create a Board, listed, Follow Boards you love, and Edit Your Home Feed.
Categories are inadequately listed in the upper right search box, Create a Board, Follow Boards you love, and Edit Your Home Feed.

 When it comes to personal scrapbooks of aspirations, women seek more than a tasty Cheesy Garlic Bread recipe (the most re-pinned post), views of cuddly Woodland Creatures (most popular branded board by L.L. Bean), and viral “Hey Girl” Ryan Gosling sweet nothings. Don't get me wrong, I go for this gooey stuff too.  But to pinpoint the problem, we have bigger dreams than the architecture allows.

Pinterest, don't underestimate our interests.

Clearly women are defying the limited frame, many great boards are devoted to snubbed categories.  After all, content is generated by users, not editors.   Still, filling the category holes would make it much easier to find and follow preferred pins, and spur on curators to Go There. 

Pinterest is a wonderful place of discovery.  More than eye candy, followers also want to be empowered with new ideas. This fast growing and evolving media tool has enormous potential. Beyond setting style, building brands, and promoting products, this visual platform has the ability to positively influence our lives and the world around us.  Meatier messages can be communicated through a compelling mix of photos, captions, infographics, book covers, YouTube videos, quotes, and links (see MashableNurture Nature ProjectHalf the Sky, etc.).

I’ve read that Pinterest’s greater mission is to get you offline, doing the things you love.  Imagine if pinboards were creatively used to increase awareness, build communities and mobilize onlookers to make a difference?

Pinterest, it’s time to widen the field and recognize women, your predominant users, are a bit more complex.  And women, let’s also use our savvy to pin with a purpose and browse for a better world.


Join my campaign to add missing Pinterest categories that matter to you

Follow the board, ADD PIN CATEGORIES and vote for new categories with your Likes. Feel free to comment on other suggested categories, I certainly can’t speak for all women or the male minority!

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See how I’m using Pinterest

As a companion to my eco-blog wren, find wrenvironment pinboards offering a trove of easy insight and quick reference to local green living.  I'm converting past posts to this visual catalog and archiving/profiling local green restaurants, coffee shops, craft breweries, resale shops, urban farms, favorite environmental groups, green women, nontoxic nails, electric cars,  green books/films, eco-crafts and much more.

wren pinterest


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