I have spent the past 15 years working in a male dominated profession. During that time I’ve had a front row seat to the gender bias surrounding wage and opportunity differences offered to employees in a corporate environment ~ aka the glass ceiling. Ultimately the glass ceiling to me is a reflection of men getting more instantaneous respect than women do. In my experience Women have to be twice as good to get equal recognition.
Do men get more respect on Social Media?
If I’d been asked a year ago if I thought that same bias was present in Social Media, I would have likely said no. My first blush thought is that the anonymity available via digital interaction and the removal of face to face interactions (therefore removal of gender reminders), would likely prevent a gender bias from emerging in Social Media like it has in corporate interactions. But now, I’m not so sure.
After Margie (@margieclayman) asked me to participate in the Women & Social Media Series, I reflected upon my, admittedly short, 8 months as an active participant in Social Media. My first outstanding thought is how much I have enjoyed the community and friendships I’ve developed using Social Media – especially via Twitter. I have met incredible people that have inspired, supported, and encouraged me to stretch beyond my comfort zone and to reach for my goals. After that though, when I started to consider things in more depth, I realized I have noticed a schism between men and women on Social Media.
In the 8 months that I’ve been learning the ropes of social media, the top two heavy hitters that I’ve learned about in the forefront of the Social Media frontier include Darren Rowse @problogger and Brian Clark @copyblogger – both men.
Women in Social Media?
There are plenty of prominent women in the mommy blogger niche, but I’ve seen very few examples of women that have successfully navigated the Social Media frontier in other areas. The first top two women bloggers that came to mind were Ree Drummond @thepioneerwoman and Penelope Trunk @penelopetrunk, but Ree is a mom blogger. So that really only leaves Penelope Trunk. I’m sure there are others out there, but those are the few that come to mind based upon my personal experience. So, what’s the difference?
How do Men and Women Differ on Social Media?
With this question in mind, I looked into the limited statistics I could find about the different behavior or men and women in Social Media. Here’s what I learned:
- There are more women than men active on nearly every social media platform.
- Women build more connections than men do – especially via twitter.
- There are 10 times as many verified men accounts on twitter than women’s.
- Tony Hastings – Do Women do Twitter Better than Men?
- Dharmesh Shah – He Tweeted, She Tweeted: Men versus Women on Twitter [Infographic]
- Brian Solis – In the World of Social Media, Women Rule
None of these insights were surprising to me, but they seem to support my growing theory.
I don’t mean to imply that men aren’t building communities or that women aren’t business savvy; however, if I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that women’s first priority is making friends with building business a close second, while I think the opposite is true for men. Of course no stereotype fits all situations, but these are the general trends I’ve observed in my few months in the social media world.
The fact that there are 10 times as many verified men’s accounts on twitter than women’s is a strong indicator that this is true. So my next question is why?
Is this a reflection of instinctual gender roles being played out in a new arena? Men hunt and conquer while women socialize and nurture.
Is the large number of Stay at Home Moms and Work at Home Moms versus men influencing the overall trend?
How much of this is actually happening and how much is merely my woman filter? Or my personal filter period, no gender applied?
Please comment – agree? disagree? All thoughts are welcome and encouraged!
**As I’m writing this, tweetdeck is streaming with the news that Twitter is 5 years old today. She’s ready to go to kindergarten!