‘Ladies first’ on social media
Women are dominating the social media scene, according to a recent report released by the Pew Research Centre in the United States.
Surprisingly, the substantial female population on networks such as Twitter and Facebook are not driving more males to join.
While women made up 58 per cent of the 850 million new social media users recorded between 2008 and 2010, male memberships dropped by three per cent over the same period.
It looks like men might need to employ a fresh social media strategy if they want to keep up with technology-forward women, but many commentators are asking: are they even in the race?
Some believe that social media is a more attractive to females because it is more 'feminine'.
Phil Mark, the co-founder of a project called Applified, told the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) on April 1 that "social networks are built on sharing – and that's a feminine model".
The Pew research did uncover that women are more likely to update their status and comment frequently – but does that mean it is possible to give Facebook and Twitter a gender bias?
One of the reports leading authors Keith Hampton told the CSM that "women are historically the networkers in relationships".
"Larger forces that have nothing to do with the site's interface explain better why men are less engaged on social media," Mr Hampton added.
However, the findings may highlight the larger issue of how women are represented on the boards of these social media giants – not only were Twitter and Pinterest were both founded by men, but not one woman is present on the executive board of Facebook.
These questions have not gone unnoticed – the Face It Campaign has been launched today (April 3), led by a group of men and women across the world who aim to raise awareness about the lack of women and other ethnicities involved in the management of Facebook.
"We believe that this board of white men should include women of all colors. Because Facebook should go public with a board that reflects its own mission – to make the world more open and connected," according to the campaign's website.
Until these questions are resolved, it looks like any gender associations with social media remain very much contestable.
Posted by Jess O'Connor