If we told you that Pinterest was primarily comprised of female users, you would probably not be surprised; if we said men loved Reddit, you would say, “Sounds about right.” However, beyond the obvious, a recent infographic released by the data company DigitalFlashNYC declared women as the winners when it comes to dominating social media usage.
According to the infographic, women comprised 56% (that’s 81 million women) of total social media use. We are not just talking about primarily female social media spaces like Pinterest–where hair tutorials and wedding pinboards flourish–we are referring to completely gender-neutral spaces like Facebook and Twitter. Men, on the other hand, comprise a larger user base when it comes to sites like Google+ and LinkedIn. So what gives? What makes men and women polarized when it comes to seemingly gender-neutral social media spaces?
Because social trends tend to remain consistent regardless of the medium, what is true in real life is generally true in the world of social media. For this reason, we are going to make a huge generalization and say that women are more likely to love a nice long chat significantly more than men–who tend to prefer conversation solely for the purpose of conveying information. Correspondingly, it makes sense that women would enjoy social media platforms that offer a forum for communication; and men, a forum for networking.
Women enjoy social media for the experience it provides, viewing Facebook and Twitter as places to go and stay. They see social media for exactly what it was intended to be: a way to connect, communicate and share your life events with friends, which explains why they are the dominant Facebook users at 58 percent and Twitter at 64 percent. Both Facebook and Twitter are platforms based solely on the premise of connecting with friends and communication, which is essentially the Internet’s version of a meaningful conversation. It only makes sense that women would therefore be more avid users of platforms that allow them to do that on a consistent basis.
To make a broad statement: men are more likely to view social media as a tool to get things done rather than a way to keep in touch, similar to the way they view conversations in real life. This would explain why men are more active users on platforms that promote professional advancement. Men view social media as a forum to make professional connections that will further their career rather than a place to connect with friends. They are more active users on LinkedIn (63%) because they see it as a more efficient way to network. Similarly, Google+ for men (71%) offers the unique feature of Google Hangouts, which are valuable for business meetings given that the feature is comparable to Skype sans the the service fee. Both of these platforms offer means for professional advancement and are more aligned with the way that men view social media.
We hope we have offered some insight into the mystery of the social media gender divide, let us know if you agree.