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New Media Authors: Aelvish Manvar, Suresh Sambandam

Related Topics: New Media on Ulitzer, The Social Media Guide

New Media: Article

Chicks Rule Social Media!

Men vs Women: The Battle of the Sexes Hits Social Media

Is the battle of the sexes heating up on the web?

Who uses Twitter more, men or women? Who uses social media more, the guys or the gals?

How men and women use social media sites is of great interest to advertises and companies trying to use social media as a new pathway to reach customers.

Woman and man sparingKnowing whether men or women frequent a social media site can open up many new avenues for marketers and companies seeking to target male or female customers. This information can help them create or refine a social media strategy.

But even if you're not an advertiser or marketer, determining gender usage on social media sites is just plain interesting...fascinating, some might say.

So who wins the social media battle?

According to two recent studies, women tend to frequent social media sites more than male users.

Harvard Study Shows Twitter Usage

According to a study by Harvard Business School Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, women and men use social media sites differently. Piskorski has been studying online networks for years, and the results of his investigations allow him to help companies develop strategies for leveraging social media sites.  In his 2009 investigations,  there are interesting findings on the differences between the sexes in how they approach social media, Twitter in particular.

Piskorski and Bill Heil examined the activity of a random sample of 300,542 Twitter users in May 2009 to find out how people are using the service.

Some of Professor Piskorski's findings:

•    There are more women on Twitter than men: men make-up 45% of Twitter users, while women total 55%
•    Women tweet about the same rate as men
•    Women create fewer links in their tweets than men.
•    Although men and women follow a similar number of Twitter users, men have 15% more followers than women.
•    Men also have more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other.
•    An average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman.
•    An average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman.
•    Men's tweets are followed by both sexes.twitter logo

An interesting side-finding, not related to gender, is that a small group of Twitter users account for most of the traffic: the top 10% of heavy Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets. Piskorski notes that on a typical online social network, the top 10% of users account for 30% of all production.

If we leave Twitter and look at social networking sites in general (sites such as Facebook or MySpce), Piskorski has another interesting finding: one of the biggest usage categories was men going to pages and looking at women they don't know. The next top category was men looking at women they do know.Women tended to look at women they did know.

Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views. Piskorski and Heil are conducting a follow-up study to see if having your photo posted influences these results.

Google Ad Planner Results

google ad planner logoA more recent gathering of data by Brian Solis also validates the gender gap in social media.

Solis gathered and analyzed statistics from Google Ad Planner for Internet users in the US and the top 20 social networking sites that they used.  The data is based on 30-day traffic from August 2009.

What Solis found was that female usage was increased on almost all the social media sites.  Some sites had the sexes fairly neck-to-neck in the usage race.  For example, August Delicious stats showed male usage at 49% and female at 52%, but chicks ruled on almost all the other sites:

Delicious: Male: 48%. Female: 52%

Facebook:  Male: 43%, Female: 57%

Flickr: Male: 45%, Female: 55%

LinkedIn: Male 50%, Female 50%

Myspace: Male: 36%. Female: 64%

Ning: Male: 41%, Female: 59%

Twitter: Male: 43%, Female: 57%

Upcoming.org: Male: 45%, Female: 55%

Ustream.tv: Male: 34%, Female: 66%

Yelp: Male: 43%, Female: 57%

The one exception was Digg.  Male usage predominated, with males at 64%, and females at 36%.  You can see all of Solis's data on his spreadsheet.

So Now What?

All this data makes for an interesting chat at the water cooler or at parties, but what do we do with this data?  Brain Solis has a suggestion for what to do with the social media stats on men and women:

"They are not demographics, they are not statistics, they are not avatars, nor are they waiting with baited breath for you to friend or market at them and their network friends. This data represents whole numbers and is not representative of the individuals that are looking for resources and guidance, and in turn, will help you participate as a community member. Remember, it’s how you interpret these numbers combined with an understanding of the real world needs and experiences of the people you’re attempting to engage that determines the success or failure of your social media program.

So, how will you use this information to engage more effectively and genuinely?"

More Stories By Loraine Antrim

Loraine Antrim is co-founder of Core Ideas Communication, a communications consulting agency focused on presentation development and media training for C-suite executives. Core Ideas enables executives to package and communicate relevant and compelling messages in their presentations and interviews. Loraine's expertise is killing butterflies. You know, butterflies: the feeling in your stomach before you have to present or speak in public. Loraine works with executives to create a powerful story, memorable messages and an authentic delivery style. Confidence kicks in, and butterflies scatter. Nice work killing butterflies! You can contact Loraine at: manager at coreideas.com