This explains why no men were using Pinterest

If you ever wondered why Pinterest took off with women and not men, we have our answer. Friday the company announced it had changed its search filtering options so that men could see results catered to their gender.

In the past, when searching for workouts or clothes their feed would fill with pins targeted to women. Since Pinterest’s early users were women, the application spread virally through that demographic. Naturally the most popular pins and pinners are, as a result, for women or by women.

That shut out men who might also find the technology useful but didn’t like the results they were served. Although some people who identify as men might appreciate a more feminine selection, not all would. Take a look at Pinterest’s screenshot on the difference in genders:

The difference in gender searching on Pinterest. Left: Men ; Right: Women

The difference in gender searching on Pinterest. Left: Men ; Right: Women

The new gender focus will appear as a toggle, allowing women and men to search for items of the opposite gender as well. That could be helpful for anyone with more androgynous taste, or it could serve well for gift shopping purposes.

The attempt to make Pinterest appealing to men comes from the company’s new head of brand, David Rubin, who formerly ran marketing for the ultra dude product Axe body spray. He was brought on in part to achieve that goal, and he started by commissioning Pinterest ad storylines to appeal to men and filling men’s home feeds with male products. Frankly I’m surprised it took the company this long to create gender specific search results — it has been around for over seven years, after all.

With the product announcement Pinterest also revealed new statistics, saying that its number of male signups have grown 73 percent year over year. It’s impressive numbers for the U.S. As we’ve covered, in some other countries, Pinterest has actually had a far easier time recruiting men to the application.

Since it’s a user-generated content site it’s demographics tend to build on themselves. The more women — or motorcycle fans, or cooks, or interior designers — are on the site, the more pin will be created that appeal to them.

To kickstart other groups Pinterest has to woo them with product shifts, and it’s doing just that.

Brands pay Twitter to falsely appear in your following list

A Twitter advertising technique is perturbing people. Promoted brands like MasterCard and IFC are appearing in the list of accounts some users follow, even if they don’t actually follow them.

Sources familiar with the company’s advertising strategy tell me this has been occurring since early 2013, but the public has only just now cottoned onto it thanks to actor William Shatner (of Star Trek fame). Shatner brought attention to it after he saw that “MasterCard” appeared in his following list despite the fact that he didn’t follow it. He did a little investigation and discovered that the same promoted account appeared on Dwayne Johnson’s follower list, looking a little out of place given “The Rock” only followed one other account.

Twitter has long been a proponent of native advertising, making its money off promotions that look like a regular part of the Twitter landscape (instead of, say, a banner ad). People are accustomed to promoted accounts appearing in their regular feed and promoted hashtags in the trending topics section. But sticking brands in the list of who a user actually follows is a departure from the above examples.

By making it look like someone follows an account that they don’t, it sends a false signal that said user cares about that brand. Although the brands are marked as “promoted,” it’s not necessarily clear that the user in question doesn’t actually follow the brand.

There’s ethical considerations to be had. Hypothetical examples: What if you’re vegan and don’t want people to think you’re following Burger King? Or you’re the CEO of Visa and don’t want people thinking you’re following MasterCard? Or you’re a pro-life activist and don’t want people thinking you’re following Planned Parenthood?

Once again, it appears Twitter’s product managers fundamentally don’t understand the way people use its application.

 

 

Does Facebook Still Have Some Twitter Envy?

Facebook has confirmed it is testing a new feature that allows a member of the network to “subscribe” to another user’s updates, in the same way Twitter allows users to “follow” each other. But implementing a full “follow” feature would be a big risk for Facebook.

Twitter’s Follow Lists Will Make It a Better Professional Tool

twitter-logo If you follow a large number of people on Twitter, the volume of tweets you have to sift through can quickly become overwhelming. You can organize the list of people you follow on Twitter into groups using many of the third-party Twitter clients, cutting down on some of the chatter, but until now there’s been no way to do it using the service itself. Well, Twitter has finally acknowledged this need, and is currently testing a new feature called “Lists” that will finally build groups into the service itself.

Accompanying the new feature will be a Lists API that developers can then use to integrate the new tool into their client and web-app platforms. Strictly speaking, Twitter Lists appear to be more of a discovery and networking tool, at least as intended by the developer, than something that helps you organize the people you follow, but it should work both ways. Here’s how it works, as described by the official Twitter blog: Read More about Twitter’s Follow Lists Will Make It a Better Professional Tool