Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

Summary: Generation Y women are leading the social media race, with men less likely to be on social media sites. But crucially -- why?


It should come as no surprise that social networking growth has significantly increased over the past three years -- doubling from 29 percent in 2008 to 65 percent this year.

But Generation Y women, according to the latest research out of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, are called out as "power users" in social networking growth.

(Image via Flickr)

89 percent of women aged 18-29 years old are connected to social networking sites, with the research saying that women have been "significantly more likely" to be on social media sites than men since 2009.

But this is key -- simply because most technology-driven trends are male dominated and all but without exception more popular with men.

What the research does not question is why women are spending more time on social media sites than men.

While women are 'portfolio builders' -- as seen with higher exam marks in girls than boys, and the often excessive number of photos on someone's profile page, men are often display narcissistic traits in-person.

Women are more social; in the way they interact, and remember birthdays, and building events. It is a stereotype, but some stereotypes exist for a reason. Just as men are more outwardly competitive, in that status updates seem to revolve around their own accomplishments.

Women tend to be career-focused and 'hyper-aware' of their own standing within a social network -- online and offline. They are aware of who they are and the attributes they contribute to their own social group, and appear monitor this closely.

Men are more likely to assert their alpha-male status and dominance over other men, for which all but every man believes they have, in a physical, in-person way; rather than using an indirect means of social networking to do it. Frankly, they get drowned out in the noise of the vast number of profiles made available to them through online friendship.

While the gap is narrow between women and men of all ages -- 70 percent and 60 percent respectively -- there is also an issue of social exclusion to contend with.

Because Facebook and Twitter are so large, it is all but socially unacceptable to not be a part of it. Those who are not members of a social network will find that they struggle to remain 'in the loop' and maintain contact with their friends through conventional routes.

But don't get me wrong -- there is a heavy overlap, and it isn't as simple as saying "one gender does this over another". As many sociological studies have concluded, in a few years gender will be ruled out as something without standing. 'Androgyny on paper' will prevail and the gender divide will eventually conclude to equality across the sexes, where socio-economic status and salary will balance out.

It only took a few thousand years of civilisation to get there.

I could hypothesise all day, but it would not be of any use. As strange as it sounds, the statistics do not matter.

There needs to be a lot more work done on the subject, particularly focusing on the gender divide and the sociological reasons why women use Facebook and Twitter more than men. It's something I personally endeavour to look into during the course of my masters degree.

Only for online advertisers should it matter as to why younger women are more likely to engage in social networking than men -- to point adverts in a specified way in order to gain as much revenue as possible.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Social Enterprise

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  • Change your summary

    "Bucking" means to go against. I think the word you want is "behind".
  • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

    You told us that 89 percent of women aged 18-29 years old are in social media, but what is the percentage of men in that same demographic? I think displaying this data might strengthen your argument.

    I agree with your claims about women being hyper-aware of their surroundings within social groups, but your article, doesn't really give any examples of this in relation to social media sites. I agree that women are 'portfolio builders' and that Facebook/LinkedIn have portfolio-like qualities, but what is it that make them more 'power user' than the boys? Do they understand the technology behind Facebook, or is it that men get hung up on the nuances of the tech and overlook the social qualities of sites?

    Great read, sparked my interest in investigating further. Thanks!
    • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?


      Was all this a fancy and round-about way of saying that women like to talk? (Yak, gossip, etc...) I am shocked and appalled! Women being Yentas? Who would have ever thunk it?

      Nothing to see here folks, move along...
  • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

    Zack, this is the first of your articles I've read that was difficult to follow because of disjointed, apparently hasty writing. Really, you'd do well to go back over it, you don't usually come across this way. What does "portfolio building" have to do with exam scores? What do you mean by "more social" as opposed to "more competitive"? (Don't many people compete socially?) How many profile pictures is "excessive"? I kept having to stop and figure out what you were trying to say.
    Ruthanne Williams Roussel
  • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

    You know what? I wish people would just stop asking the young what they are doing and start asking the 30-59 group. I am in my 40s, female and use the social media about 90% of the time.
  • Message has been deleted.

  • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

    It's simple. (Apologies in advance..) 90% or more of the world's gossips are women. The internet is one big gossip pit.
    Women LOVE 'connecting', even if it's to disparage or to find out who is doing the disparaging (or to find out who's AWOL and incognito). They can't stand NOT connecting.

    Men couldn't care less about hearing others chatter, unless they have a personal interest and specific goal in the outcome. (Are people at this company I'm interviewing at making good money? Is the new VP of marketing hot? Is my boss planning to lay us all off?
    Will the Packers make the playoffs? etc.)

    OK, Zack: there's your premise. Turn that into a 200 page thesis and you're guaranteed a doctorate my friend!
    • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

      @jryanp You beat me to the post. That was pretty much exactly what I was thinking when I read the headline.
  • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

    Whether or not a given individual is likely to use a given piece of technology ... and not just information related technology ... has everything to do with two factors ... a) does it help them address a part of their life they care about and b) does it do so in a way that easily fits their preferred way of living.

    If the answer to both questions is "yes", then said individual will very likely use said technology. The MORE a given bit of tech allows someone to enjoyably and effectively achieve something that matters to them and the MORE it does so in a way that fits their preferred lifestyle, the MORE they are likely to use it.

    So, as yourself ... "Do many young women care (deeply) about the aspects of life on which social apps focus? Does using social apps fit their preferred lifestyle in a big way?

    So ... Why are young women social app power users? Question asked, question answered.
  • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

    I suspect that the presence of women's profiles online tends to DRIVE traffic to the site. It's like ladies night in a bar...women drink free, but ALL the men show up, hoping to meet the women.
  • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

    I appreciated most of your article and found it very insightful, however stick to the facts rather than stating unproven theories such as "in a few years gender will be ruled out as something without standing". This is your opinion as a writer and/or researcher, not a proven fact.
  • I don't have a fakebook and I am OK with it.

    I actually cancelled mine about a year ago. Does that make me a typical guy ?

    I don't have a --==t*w*a*t*t*e*r==-- either :-)
  • The gender divide...

    ...will continue as long as there are relationships that are broken and people who cheat on their significant others. "dang men" or "dang women".

    I also suggest looking at American commercials these days if you want proof. Many are sexist against men now, since white men are the current whipping posts for society. A short lived windex commercial that comes to mind said, "Don't you wish your husband worked as well as windex?" If the genders in that commercial had been reversed there would be feminist groups in an uproar and lawsuits abound.
  • RE: Young women 'power users' of Facebook, Twitter: But why?

    'Generation Y women are leading the social media race, with men less likely to be on social media sites. But crucially why?'<br><br>Err cos social media is another term for virtual gossiping, really doesn't take a rocket surgeon to work that one out does it?
    Scarface Claw