ManWall.com launches a social network where “guys can be guys.” Is having a space where “guys can be guys” a positive or negative addition to the social media landscape?
ManWall.com dubs itself as “the ultimately social network for guys” and according to the press release, “with 9 in 10 social networks dominated by female users, it is harder and harder for guys to bring the “buddy experience” onto the web without worrying about having conversations with friends being seen by your mom, aunt, girlfriend, or even co-workers and supervisors. Enter ManWall.com — the world’s first social network website just for men.”
Ken Braun, creator of ManWall, says that the concept behind the site is to “take the male conversations that typically happen at the ball game, poker table, in a text message, a sports bar, and brings them online for all men to share and comment on. Unlike today’s popular social networks, on ManWall you don’t have to “edit” your posts, worried about who might see it in your circle of social followers like your family, girlfriend, wife, or co-workers. You can just be yourself at ManWall.com.”
The site has several “walls” on various topics where users can post pictures, videos and other content. Topics include: humor, entertainment, UFC results, fishing, funny photos, cars and hot girls. Users may either register and log in or post anonymously which, according to the press release, gives men a freedom them don’t have on sites such as Facebook: “This means no more judgmental looks from your Facebook-savvy grandmother at Thanksgiving or squabbles with your girlfriend over your collection of Megan Fox bikini photos.”
ManWall wants users to take an active role in community building. Users can create their own Manwalls with other guys – a feature referred to as creating a “virtual wolf pack.”
Any site that caters to a specific group while excluding other groups always generates a little controversy, and with its tagline “what’s your vice?” as well as some of the images of women in bikinis on the home page, there’s no doubt that ManWall controversy is part of ManWall’s appeal. Moreove, anytime a social network builds a specific space where anonymous objectification of the opposite sex is encouraged, it can be difficult not to get on the defensive.
However, what is most interesting about ManWall its competitive edge. In both the press release and on the site itself, ManWall bases the foundation of its social networking appeal on creating a space where “men can be men”. The flip side of this assumption is that it implies that on other social networking sites, men can’t be men. Moreover, it offers anonymous posting options, suggesting that if men can be identified online, they aren’t able to truly be themselves.
Are men under more pressure to hide parts of themselves on mainstream social networks or are growing friend lists – which include family, bosses, and significant others – forcing us all to be more toned done in our social networking use? If men need a social network where they don’t have to worry about the constraints of the socially acceptable, do women require the same space, and if so, what does a social networking site where “women can be women” look like?