The Secrets of Pinterest's Success

All the things that have drawn women to Pinterest, the social network of the moment, make the site a more appealing social network in general. 

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All the things that have drawn women to Pinterest, the social network of the moment, make the site a more appealing social network in general. Compared to Google+, a social network that catered to men and over six months later has yet to prove itself, Pinterest's lady-friendly qualities have made it grow "Faster Than Any Standalone Site Ever," in the words of TechCrunch. We think those feminine characteristics have a lot to do with the site's overall success.

Pinterest is pretty. Aesthetics are an oft-cited reason that women prefer Pinterest, especially in comparison to the blog-roll inspired mess of Google+. Both ugly and unoriginal, Google+ borrows its look from pre-Timeline Facebook, giving us lots of words and white space. Pinterest's creators, on the other hand, thought about the visual aspect of the Internet. Presenting the items in the pin-board format (above), users get an easy-to-scan array of pretty found Internet items that don't get lost after a day. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, even Tumblr, just don't look that nice, something websites should try to do.

Pinterest is useful. Pinterest sells itself to women suggesting "girly" uses for the site, like planning a wedding or organizing recipes. But, the fact that the site has a use at all, makes it stand out in the saturated social media world. Google+, for example, didn't depart enough from the Facebook model, but Pinterest doesn't just replicate existing sites, it adds value. It's an organizational and planning tool. The digital wedding planner aspect attracts an xx-chromosome demographic, but the underlying usefulness has given people a real reason to add it into their Internet rotations. Something Google+ failed to do.

Pinterest is simple. Pinning -- the term used for sharing things on Pinterest-- takes a single click, giving the site an ease-of-use that's very appealing to non-tech oriented users. Google+ isn't that hard to use, but it's not easier than anything else out there. This may be the main explanation for Pinterest's growth: There are a lot of non-techy users—male and female—who can appreciate usability. Simplicity makes Pinterest extremely appealing, and might ensure its expansion.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.