Gentlemen, start your search engines: social bookmarking for men

With more than 12 million unique monthly users, social bookmarking site Pinterest has seen an exponential rise in popularity in the past year, making it the world's fastest-growing social-sharing network.

With more than 12 million unique monthly users, social bookmarking site Pinterest has seen an exponential rise in popularity in the past year, making it the world's fastest-growing social-sharing network. The simple and addictive site allows you to easily save and share images from all over the web on your own virtual “pinboard.” Think of it like a virtual scrapbook of your favorite finds on the web.

With a whopping 97% of its users being female, according to a recent TechCrunch report citing data from Inside Network's AppData, it's not hard to understand why when you look at Pinterest's suggested uses of the site:
  • "Redecorate your home!"
  • "Plan a wedding!"
  • "Find your style!"
  • "Save your recipes!"

A “pinner” since 2010, I personally use the site to save photography inspiration, future home ideas, creative gift-wrapping options, and to collect unique color combinations that catch my eye. Pretty girly, I know.

Brands are rushing to capitalize on the Pinterest craze, determined to connect with consumers. This makes a lot of sense if your target audience is women. It makes even more sense if your target audience is style-seeking, home décor-obsessed women. Where does this leave the scores of brands looking to connect with today's tech-savvy male? Take a quick spin on the web and a few alternative sites come up, answering one man's plea after encountering and dismissing Pinterest, “Can we now have gentlemen-only places again?”

  • Gentlemint, “a mint of manly things,” offers a boys-only retreat replete with images of cool machinery, single-barrel bourbons, wakeboarding, and grizzly bears.
  • Zootool, founded by three bootstrapping German men, offers a decidedly manly way to collect content – users “Lasso” images and videos and save them in their personal “packs.”
  • Chill is “Pinterest for videos,” tailoring videos to you based on business, sports, music, and tech and science interests. This all-male start-up strives to make video more social, immersive, and fun.
  • Snip.it is a more gender-neutral site that encourages snipping articles, videos, and images for issues you care about. It's ideal for opinionated, debate-hungry men and women alike.

There's also plenty of male-geared blogs that encourage saving and sharing content. I asked my savviest male friends which blogs they frequent most:

  • The Awesomer promises awesome stuff for awesome people. With a 69%-male user base, its dominant content is based on technology, humor, and cars. The site posts its own content as well as user submissions.
  • WhereIsTheCool is where men go to dream. Les Paul guitars, speed boats, and trim tuxedos convince any man he too can aspire to a 007 lifestyle. Site content is curated by one man for others to simply like or reblog.

So, while Pinterest is the latest social media darling, don't forget to acknowledge the strapping social media lads in the room when you're looking to connect with male consumers.

Victoria Graham is VP of digital solutions at Bite Communications North America.

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