A Glass Ceiling in Social Media?

A Glass Ceiling in Social Media?

Image Credit - Matt Hamm

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.


None of these insights were surprising to me, but they seem to support my growing theory.

Men build Business, Women build Community

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!

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**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!



62 Responses to A Glass Ceiling in Social Media?

  1. What a fantastic way to start off this series, Daria.

    I agree with you – when I first started out in Social Media, I thought it was the great equalizer. But then you start noticing things, like the fact that most women only appear on “best of” lists if it’s all women. Most of the lists of great bloggers, Twitter power-houses, or whatever else, are dominated by men. And then you notice that a lot of people say women excel in Social Media because we love to talk and shop.

    Surely there is more to the story than that?

    Thanks again. Great thoughts and great post!

    • Thank you again for including me in this discussion Margie. What a great conversation topic and group you’ve gathered to explore it! Again, I’m honored to be included.

  2. I’d say you’re off a bit, but I never like seeing the “gender” card pulled as an excuse so to speak. I’m treated how I demand I be treated. I’ve got 9000+ followers, I follow 81 people. I didn’t follow a ton, then unfollow them all – I’ve never followed more than 100 people because I don’t think I can handle it and really engage with anyone at a much higher number.

    Re verified men accounts – there could be more FAMOUS men on Twitter, there could be more men worried about their ego being fluffed by being important enough to be verified, there could be more men who hire social media firms to get them verified, there could be more men who have experienced brand impersonation, could be more men push their Twitter profiles (I noted your twitter profile was not promoted in your blog design here.)

    This argument comes up in every sector of tech – social media, SEO, gadget sector, etc. SEO has been called a “boys club” numerous times and I never let that stop me from being labeled by many one of the good ones in the field – on lists in general, not lists of women. Again, I’m treated how I want to be treated, IMHO.

    I bring up the rear of the Top 100 most powerful women on Twitter list: http://twittergrader.com/top/women

    There are tons of talented, strong, ambitious women on Twitter. I bet you’d fail to list 80% of the MALE accounts *I* find most powerful because you haven’t come into contact with them as well. Vice versa, I’d never heard of the two women you listed above before your article. Some things are about exposure.

    Either way, I think my personality would hurt me way more than “being a woman” ever would… I plow through them both. Cause – to quote a man – “King Kong ain’t got nothin on me!” ;-) (Denzel’s character in Training Day)

    • Really great points Rae. Thank you for exploring the variety of reasons for the higher number of verified twitter accounts in more depth. That was an interesting statistic that I stretched pretty far to make that correlation. And could very well have been too far.

      As a counter point, most of those reasons you explored seem to lend themselves to the idea that more men are using twitter for promotional (perhaps business exposure) than women. Maybe?

      I didn’t do a very thorough job of tying my thoughts back to corporate – but I agree with you that there isn’t a glass ceiling imposed on women in social media and I would stretch that to say in corporate environs either. I have a fledgling idea that the differences or limitations that are cited as glass ceilings are more reflective of the inherently different behaviors of the genders.

      Women aren’t as good at self promotion as men (plenty of studies supporting this). Women are typically more collaborative thinkers than men, look for common ground and connection, build consensus first, etc. I think all of these are influences at work and in social media. So, it’s less of an issue that is imposed UPON women and more of a reflection of behavior styles. Or not. Again, this is a fledgling opinion! :)

      And absolutely, this post was all based upon the limited exposure I have had to social media – twitter specifically. There are millions of accounts and I’ve only run across 3,000 or so – very limited pool to base any substantiated conclusions upon.

      By the way, THANK YOU for disagreeing! Mostly I wanted to throw an idea out for discussion. I love differing points of view and appreciate you contributing.

  3. PS… JUST saw your twitter icon at the very top of your blog – IMHO, not noticeable and would do better in the sidebar or as an end of post item – it’s kind of where people are trained to look for them according to some click tracking studies I’ve done across various websites. Cheers :)

    • Thanks Rae! I just moved it – am playing with the organization of the site and was trying to free up some sidebar space. But ultimately think I want the one that hangs over the edge of the page – just need to figure out the plugin that does that. I appreciate the advice!

    • Rae, overall I agree with your response to Daria’s post. The one point that hit me as interesting though is that you have chosen to only follow 81 people because that’s all you feel you can engage with fully, which is sort of the social aspect.

      I’m a feminist and have written many things on gender issues. Generalizations are tricky and there is also truth to them. I don’t like the term “playing the gender card” but that’s not the same as recognizing legitimate and often unconscious gender biases.

  4. Well, I can add two more powerhouse women bloggers to your list: Sonia Simone and Mary Jaksch. But adding two more names only goes to prove your point.

    I will say there are a large number of women who are in the strong middle: you and Margie for one, myself for another, and then ladies like Farnoosh Brock, Annabel Candy, Ashley Ambirge, etc etc. I mean, really, there are a lot of women in social media with influence, they just may not be at the top of the totem pole.

    And this makes me wonder if it’s just like the corporate world, where women seek balance in their lives and decide not to shoot for the top in exchange for more time for their families and other interests. This may not be a woe-is-women story, but hey, women really have a good thing going.

    Great post, Daria!

    • I absolutely agree about the strong middle tier of women, Jen. I struggled some with this because there are a large number of influential women that are making their mark in social media, for sure. But as you say, I felt that they were in that strong middle to upper middle “management” tier and not as prominent in the extreme upper echelon. You, Margie, Dawn Lennon, @chaotic_barb, @banteringblonde to name a few are very strong and influential – just not quite at the level of @problogger and @copyblogger.

      Women DO have a great thing going and I think the concept of balancing it all is extending itself to affect men too – it isn’t just a working women thing anymore. But, I was surprised that the digital nature didn’t act as that great equalizer as Margie described it.

      Thank you for adding to the conversation and bringing the deserved recognition to the women you mentioned.

      • I think the reason the digital nature doesn’t equalize it is that it’s no easier to make it in the world of social media than it is in traditional business. You have to work your butt off. What I’m saying is that some women may decide they just don’t want to put in the hours required to reach that top tier, especially if you’re working another job on top of your social media presence, as many women are.

        • I think there needs to be a clear definition of how you’re defining success on social media. Also, we see what we’re looking for – the only way I know about the problogger guy is because when I started blogging I was looking for articles about it and his came across my path. Now I notice him, not a twit.
          There may be gender bias, there may be female gender balancing I really don’t know. What I can’t get out of my head during this discussion is the recent garbage about Obama having his gonads cut off because {supposedly} he listened to Hillary Clinton and other women about Libya. What?! Someone listens to a powerful, bright woman and that’s noticed or newsworthy? Gender bias is alive and well, albeit less in USA than use to be.

  5. This is a very interesting post Daria! It’s not something I guess I’ve thought about too much, but with a minor in Women’s Studies this topic hits very near and dear to my heart.

    My initial (completely unsubstantiated) thought is that is has to do with communication style. And not so much how we go about it, but maybe how we say things. A lot of men just don’t care how things they type may come across- while I know that sometimes I agonize over phrasing something just right so that it is constructive and not taken the wrong way.

    You have to be outspoken and willing to take a strong stance to get visibility and be heard in the social media space. Not saying that women don’t do that, but how we do that I think can differ greatly from how men approach it.

    Oh, and a few more for your list: Laura Roeder and Naomi Dunford. :)

    • Thank you Christy! Yes, the entire communication style difference and socializing behaviors of women vs. men were explored in more detail in two of the articles I linked to. The sociological differences are extremely interesting to me. As a relatively strong independent woman, I rebel against the idea that my actions are controlled by instincts, but there is SO much evidence about trends in behavior it is hard to dispute. And thank you for adding some women to the list! Again, this was just my personal limited experience, so having these other women to pay attention to and learn from is great!

  6. Daria, what a terrific, thought-provoking post! My suspicion is that many of the standout bloggers got into the game early on and started out with some specific goals for online “fame.”

    It’s hard for me know to know who and where the big name bloggers are unless they cross over a wide demographic and/or have business world connections that have added a big push. Where we start often dictates where we finish. I”ll add that there is a backstory for evey big name. We just don’t know what it is–male or female.

    So much depends on what we’ve started blogging for. Some, to your point, wanted that community and then moved to selling services.

    • Very true Dawn that a lot depends on why we became involved in social media to begin with…I suppose that was part of my thought – are men more likely to use it as a tool for building business and women more likely to use it as a tool for socializing? I think so.

      I also think that purposes can change as you understand the pros and cons of social media platforms also. Perhaps you started blogging to draw business to your brick and mortar establishment, but realize a surprise benefit of connecting with a large variety of people, sharing ideas etc. that spins off into another venture.

      And yes, I have very limited exposure to a lot of different niches, so take it with a grain of salt. :)

  7. I’m curious as to why you would want to exclude mom bloggers from your success list? I don’t mean that as an inflammatory statement but as a genuine question?

    Ree’s site attracts over 30 million page views a month, has two books on bestseller lists, and has optioned movie rights to Sony. Yes, she is a mom blogger, but I would call what she has accomplished is a media empire. I don’t know if people realize what an accomplishment 30 million monthly page views is. To put it in perspective, FamilyCircle.com gets 8 million page views a month according to directly measured data from Quantcast.

    I think the issue is more that there are quite a few very successful women in social media, but they don’t get talked about as much as their male counterparts. I know that ‘mom blogger’ isn’t as sexy as ‘venture capital’, and that’s part of the problem.

    The other part is that women start businesses for very different reasons than men do. Male entrepreneurs absolutely seek media attention more than women do, because it is part of their belief that it will help their business grow (which is true). Women typically start businesses because we need a career that we can’t get in the corporate world – one that is flexible enough for us to juggle the rest of our family responsibilities, yet challenging and rewarding enough to make a difference.

    To put it bluntly, I think *one* of the reasons we don’t get people talking about us is because we are too busy running the show and running our daily lives to find the time to get media attention.

    ALL THAT BEING SAID, I’m not implying there is no gender bias and that we can fix the problem by getting more media attention. I don’t live in a fairy tale. :) Just pointing out aspects that weren’t discussed yet.

    • Great comment Wendy! I by no means meant to dismiss Ree’s accomplishments. She has set the stage for what success in social media looks like. This was another thought that I didn’t tie back in enough detail. By differentiating the mom blogger niche, I meant to acknowledge that women have kicked butt and dominated in the consumer review, family support, “mommy blogger” niche. No doubt about it that there is not a male equivalent of the mommy blogger area that even comes close. I couldn’t think of another though that wasn’t weighted more toward men.

      That doesn’t mean it isn’t out there – just that based upon my (admittedly limited) experience I have a perception that men dominate in the other niches.

      I also agree with the sexiness of the topics consideration. Mom Blogger appeals to mostly women – Venture Capitalist appeals to both genders.

      Your comment about running the show versus seeking media attention parallels @chaotic_barb’s response on twitter almost perfectly. She said women aren’t peacocking their success. :)

      I also am not necessarily sure that, supposing we agree there is a gender difference, that it is a problem. At this point I am just exploring the possibility of a difference and haven’t yet decided if it is problematic or just worth noting.

      GREAT comment, thank you very much for contributing to the conversation.

      • Daria, I wrote about this same issue way back in 2007 when Twitter was just a blip on web and Technorati’s blog ranking system actually held some weight: http://www.sparkplugging.com/sparkplug-ceo/getting-on-the-technorati-a-list-in-a-male-dominated-blogosphere/.

        The crux of my message, though, was something that I didn’t say here:

        “Here’s how I look at it – none of this [perceived bias] means anything to me, Wendy Piersall… I may be discriminated against at times, and I certainly have had some horrible and gender-abusive comments along the way – but if I buy into the belief that any of these things can stop me from reaching my goal, then it is only me stopping myself from getting there.”

        You wonder if it is problematic or just worth noting. It can be both. But it is far more problematic if we allow ourselves to buy into that idea rather than just going out and kicking butt. :)

      • Very true and I was thinking on my drive in to work this morning how much is actually under the Mommy Blogger umbrella – living frugally, crafts, cooking, organized living, parenting, marriage, education – they are all covered by Mom bloggers and I, at least, did dismiss the value and range of topics they bring to the table.

  8. This requires a much longer answer – but I am running out the door.
    The short answer is NO. There are occasional disparities when it come to speaking opportunities, but when it comes to doing the actual work in Social Media? There is no ceiling.

    You are confusing “good at self promotion” with “excellence or achievement in social media.”

    I could name you a very long list of women who are working as social media strategists, community managers, Directors of social media, VPs, and even those who are working in the same capacity as Brian and Darren (who are bloggers, not unlike Ree.)

    One of the first mistakes anyone makes in this arena is confusing being good at both self-promotion and promoting others with being good at working in Social Media Marketing or Social Media for Customer Service. Social Media usage for social sake (often monetized blogging) is more closely aligned with writing and publishing, not working in the field that has come to be defined as Social Media.

    More later – I’m actually off to a meeting. But wanted to get this here before it was too late.

    • Very good point! Social Media is a much larger concept than just twitter and blogging. And as far as actual social media work I don’t have enough exposure to know if there is any bias or not. I have met a great friend, Fiona, @banteringblonde that runs a very successful social media business promoting clients via social media. I hadn’t even considered social media representation business opportunities when writing this post. Very good point.

      I absolutely made the mistake of equating writing/publishing (blogging) with social media as a paid position/career. Thank you very much for making the clarification.

      • I absolutely adore Fiona (one more reason I think I’m going to absolutely adore *you* added!)
        It’s funny, I was thinking about this distinction the other day – there are those who use social media as an add-on to their business or profession, those who work helping others to do that, and those whose work *is* using them. Ree, Darren, Brian, Heather Armstrong, and other “A-list” bloggers tend to be those whose job is using them. Yes, they also have to build businesses around that, so there’s more than just using the tools – but blogging is a perfectly valid career choice these days. Something it wasn’t more than 5 years ago.
        But the PR & Marketing & Customer Relations fields (even R&D!) have had to adapt to using them as well – and there are a lot of amazing women who rock those fields as well. So there’s an industry around how to adapt to or adopt them (usually agencies, but also internal to brands, companies, and even politics) and those who they are counseling. But it seems like we’re headed toward a world where social media usage is as integral to it as the telephone has been for the past century. I use telephone rather than television because it’s something business had to adapt to – but the blogger, writer, publisher, Internet personality are probably more analogous to to TV newscasters, actors, producers…

        Anyway, nice to see Wendy and a bunch of other amazing women commenting here. More proof that the ceiling (if it exists) won’t stick around for long. :)

        • Really great correlation Lucretia. I can only imagine that Social Media and using our technology that keeps bringing the world closer and closer will only expand as we move forward. I think (like the telephone) that once it came into play it instantly became integral and will just build more and more usability into it as we progress. I’m curious what the smart phone version of social media will be!

  9. Daria, I agree with you that it feels like women get less respect for social media expertise and achievements – as is the case in many other professions. One of my pet peeves is conferences – social media or vertical industry – which have a majority of men on the speaking roster. There are at least dozens of women who have stellar titles and experience who could fill those agendas, yet conference organizers go to the same small handful of men (Darren and Brian among them, plus other usual suspects we all know) for their content. The exception to this, of course, are the “mom conferences” – Mom 2.0, Evo Conference, BlogHer, etc. – where the stages are filled with smart women. Unfortunately, as with “mom bloggers,” these conferences (perhaps with the exception of BlogHer) are often written off as “less [valuable, worthwhile, important] than” a traditional media or marketing event for the education and training of staff, brand participation (beyond the obvious parent-focused brands), or media coverage. I hope that as social media continues to grow and evolve that this will begin to shift…but am not holding my breath.

    • I must admit that I haven’t been to a conference yet, but have considered all of the 3 that you mentioned. BlogWorld is another that I’ve considered that was brought to my attention via #blogchat. Considering that I am a mom and a blogger (although not quite that mom blogger niche) the mom/blogger arena appeals to me – mostly because that’s where I’ve seen the most amazing women featured. For me I suppose I feel more comfortable/relate more to the women that have succeeded than the men – and maybe that’s part of the issue right there! :)

  10. Barb of @chaotic_barb recommended adding these women to the power hitters list via a twitter response to me earlier today. I thought they deserved to be mentioned in the comments so they wouldn’t be overlooked:

    @jylmomif @lucretiapruitt @emom @shellykramer @thinkmaya @sugarrae @amnichols

  11. Men and women are different yes, but today, more than ever, women understand their worth.

    I, in fact believe that women are better at branding themselves than men, we are better at connecting with people.

    I only see two minor issues – we need to learn how to promote ourselves a little better. Second – we have limited time on our hands. Both of these can be overcome by collaborating and partnering.

    In the end, we all get the respect we demand. I have seen several women in the tech, startup and social media spaces get more respect than men do. I live in Seattle and here, clearly, there are more influential women in social media than men ….so i am not sure what you are saying would apply everywhere.

    • I’m not sure that what I said is necessarily right anywhere, but I love the responses so that I can learn more about the experiences each of you have had with this issue (or non-issue).

      I think your point is on par with Lucretia’s in that I confused writing/blogging with social media opportunities and success. Your point is a great one that women are successfully branding themselves in that arena and doing very well with social media consulting ventures. (if I heard you right and didn’t spin your thoughts off tangent?)

  12. Daria – Very interesting post and comments. My opinion is social media is open to anyone who works hard, self promotes and is good at what they do. I know several very successful social media women (@banteringblonde being one of them) where sky is the limit. However, I agree with you that women in social media have the “mommy blogger” stigma to overcome. Not every female mommy blogger is in social media and some female social media professionals have mommy blogs on the side. Not everyone with a blog or a Twitter account is a social media expert.

  13. Maybe I’m naive but I’ve never felt limited or that there were any barriers to what I wanted to do. I’m a little tunnel visioned when it comes to goals, I don’t let the noise in and I just do it. I tend to share a lot of the same opinions as Lucretia, but then I can’t sit down with Lucretia for less then 3 hours once we start scheming….
    Statistically more women stay home with children, thus fewer opportunities to bust through the “ceiling” I’m doing what I want to do and I have goals but I also know that the other side of the glass has required way more time away from my family than I was able or willing to give. My kids are now in school full time and that is changing a little but to some extent I’ll always be looking for ways to be able to put my family first. If there is a glass ceiling it isn’t a barrier with limitations women can’t bust through ;) This is just my opinion and I’m sure there will be women who claim I am wrong. I personally have not experienced any push back, in fact I’ve been in rooms full of men where I’m the only female and have not perceived any lack of respect in fact their attentiveness has been rather intense at times, firing questions and followup questions… there are tons of women in social media doing great things and I think many of those well known men associate with these women and tend to show great respect for them.
    Blogs are vehicles for sharing ideas, simply a tool. The two women you named are bloggers but many “bloggers” are professionals using the blog as a tool, mostly for personal brand building to grow their business…
    There are lots of women like Mari Smith who is the queen of all things Facebook, here’s a list of women http://www.fastcompany.com/women-in-tech/2011/media and also http://www.contenttocommerce.com/momentum/50-of-the-most-powerful-and-influential-women-in-social-media/
    And as I look up a bit I see your last comment about confusing writing/blogging with other social media opps and successes…
    The biggest problem for women in social media is exactly what Chris Brogan pointed out when he spoke to #Disneysmmoms we tear each other down. That isn’t necessarily what all women do, I think there are a number of women that haven’t had any professional experience ever that are suddenly finding opportunity but because they haven’t learned the ways of professional life they let themselves behave poorly, make poor decisions, ignore advice etc. and it leaves a bad impression. The standard for professionalism in the Mom community needs to be held to a higher level-there is enough room for everyone to find their niche and when you help others achieve their goals you tend to move closer to achieving your own goals. This is why I spend so much time talking to newer folk…mostly I love talking about Sm and showing people how it can spread their message, but also I hope to steer women in a direction of professional behavior. This isn’t a neighborhood playground and we are all being lumped into a category whether we like it or not so we need to take care that each of us is moving through the sphere spreading the right message! The golden rule has never been more relevant than it is here ;)

    • Really great comment Fiona. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond with so many great examples and resources.

      I have heard rumors of unprofessional behavior and have seen a rare few examples of negativity, but by far my experience on twitter and blogging has been an amazing outpouring of support and help from established pros like yourself. I am still overwhelmed with the team feeling I get from twitter and other bloggers – the community is just amazingly supportive and helpful with little to no defensiveness over niche or territory. That has been from both men and women, not just women.

      As a relatively outspoken and independent woman, I absolutely support that the sky is the limit for everyone – men and women – if you are willing to put the time and effort in to make yourself a success. Sometimes I feel that the amount of time and effort women have to put in though exceeds the level of effort men do for the same results. I’m not quite sure why and this is just a general feeling, not necessarily specific to social media.

      And I really need to figure out what I should be saying instead of social media – because as you and Lucretia so accurately pointed out there is a world of difference about what I am trying to describe (blogging and twitter engagement) than social media as a profession.

      Thank you again Fiona! (by the way, 4th loan via Kiva yesterday! :) )

    • Speaking of which, after “Spring Break Season” we should plot more! ;)

      I find myself sitting here agreeing about the “higher standard of behavior.” But I’m not sure who we’re supposed to hold to it – I suspect it’s not just Mom Bloggers but anyone who blogs professionally. I’ve heard SXSW called “Geek Spring Break” not because it was a vacation, but because it was the equivalent behavior as the infamous Fort Lauderdale Spring Break crowd – since the alcohol flows freely and people who should know better behave like idiots. The equivalent description in the Mom Blogger/Womens’ Conferences has mostly been “Moms Gone Wild” – pretty sure that one doesn’t need explanation. Either way, there are people I can’t imagine getting drunk and ending up doing unprofessional things at a conference and those I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of doing it. I tend to want to work with the first set. :\

      • I haven’t yet been to a blogging conference, but your comment just made me realize my own inherent prejudice. I had a distinction in my head between blogging conferences and “real” conferences. By “real” meaning ones for my day job. But that’s absolutely untrue. A blogging conference isn’t just a large girls night out that you pay for the priviledge of attending, but is just as legitimate and “real” as any other conference. The point of any conference is to get like minded individuals together with common goals, learn new things about your industry, and network with others to build something better for everyone. Each of the people you meet at a conference are potential clients, or partners or resources to help you improve your business – same with blogging. Therefore, the behavior that I would expect from any professional at any science or industry conference should be the standard for blogging conferences as well.

        For me I didn’t start blogging with an end game in mind so conferences and gathering with social media friends is for fun and enjoyable and really, really interesting conversation – but I was categorizing it in my “me” time/GNO activities. I bet that is part of the issue – WHY women are blogging and what their end game is affects how they feel and react – whether as one of the girls (decidedly less formal) or as a professional considering each interaction as a potential job interview.

        This was probably an old thought for you! But, was an aha for me. Hmmm….

        • I think you are absolutely right Daria. For some women blogging is a hobby and I think that is great, in fact it isn’t unlike the message board groups I used to participate in. There was one I joined while TTC and those of us that moved on to groups with out due date stayed together in a group for several years. I also am still in a group that I met from Ebay group discussion board. We’ve been together about 10 years and many of us have met in person… funny thing is we are moving to Facebook groups at the moment. Social media to enhance your social life is great and is hugely important for many people. It’s just different from using it in a business capacity. So perhaps because more women use it casually people would see that as the majority? I also think we tend to make friends in business easier… so many of the people I do business with online are also friends and we do enjoy a little “me” time together ;) although my definition of “me” time isn’t getting drunk and dancing on the tables… but I like to have a cocktail and shake it a wee bit :P lol

          • What would me time be without a cocktail or two after all! And if Zumba is any indication, shaking your tail feathers a little is becoming incredibly popular. :)

  14. This was really good! I definitely have gender bias. I don’t follow as many men, but this might be because I am not in business. Women just seem more interesting and they talk about things I want to talk about, more about relationships and less about business. Unless it’s men talking about wine! Then I am listening!!! But I never thought about what if I were coming to Twitter with business in mind? Who would I listen to more?

    • Anyone talking about wine has my vote too! :) I absolutely realized as I was writing this article that my follows are heavily skewed toward women. There are a handful of men that I interract with regularly, but 95% of my community is women.

      Thank you for joining our conversation Mary!

  15. You are brave Daria, getting into this discussion.
    My first thought was that I have noticed that men use push advertisement, where women tend to socialize and offer services on the side. I can’t stand the pop up messages and sales letters telling me how great the product is. It might be, but really do not push it forward right away. Women usually don’t push, they show and tell. In some instances I had to look hard for the services provided.
    I want to mention Sonia Simone and Mary Smith as women that have a strong presence in social media. They have both helped me a lot, like Darren and Chris have just to mention two of each gender.
    I also want to mention that in my field of therapy I am used to meeting more women than men, and some therapy-women are out blogging and on facebook and twitter too. But, you are right Daria that men tend to be more aggressive online also in the therapy field. I am not sure if being aggressive means more success in the form of sales.
    I started blogging 9 months ago to promote my business as a couples therapist. It is still my goal, but I have gotten something else that I didn’t look for. Online friendships with fantastic women dedicated to their goals and not afraid of helping others on the way. They have given an enormous amount of support.
    I hope that men will find your blog and make comments to this important and lively discussion.
    Thanks Daria and everyone commenting.

  16. Lol – thanks Irene. Margie gets any bravery credit – she came up with the Series topic – I guess I added the glass ceiling bit though…

    I love, love, love getting opposing views in the comments. It is so much fun to really discuss a topic with such amazing and intelligent people.


  17. I wonder if part of the issue is how we define success? Women do have different styles from men generally speaking. If we could wipe the slate clean and establish a gender neutral or woman specific valuation of success in social media, would it look different?
    Maybe social media is an opportunity to change the definition? To explore the unique ways women work, what women strive for and to value that?

    • I like it! I absolutely think that each individual has a slightly different idea of success than the other – especially once you start bridging cultural differences etc. It only stands to reason that it would be applicable to gender differences also. I also think that the traditional vision of success (80 hour work weeks, never being involved in your kids’ youth, corporate world driving your life) is changing in general and it isn’t just limited to women. Men too are seeking balance and understanding that people are the true riches in your life rather than money. Money helps! Don’t get me wrong, but as a culture we are adapting to value our families more (IMHO).

  18. First thought: OMG–another aspect of SM to concern myself w.

    Second thought: It’s only a problem, if I label it as such…

    Love your moxy, Daria. I’m a newbie to SM, and stared by following Naomi Dunford of wwww.ittybiz.com fame, and James Chartrand of MenWithPens (female, to you and me:P).

    Do I have to work harder than males. Yes. Am I willing to stress about this fact…Hell-to-the-No, Baby!!

    • lol – absolutely don’t let anything discussed or thrown out in this post slow you down or hold you back! You are kicking butt and have a very unique voice and appeal that will take you far. I have no doubt. I don’t intend to worry about a glass ceiling any more than I do in “real” life. I strive to figure out what I need to do and improve to succeed (by my definition of success) and don’t even bother worrying about what other people are doing or not doing. Their success? Good for them! Woohoo! Let’s celebrate and then let’s look at me (as a completely unique person) and figure out what I need to do. Just because xyz worked for so and so doesn’t mean it will work for me – not because I have two X chromosomes, but because I have a different personality, strengths, weaknesses, and point of view.

  19. You are right, women do tend to the social butterflies while men tend to be more introspective, not really wanting to share a lot about themselves. But I am pleasantly surprised and intrigued by Daddy Bloggers. Rarely will you see a man talk about the ins and outs of parenting and when I find one, like the Dad from “Daddy Incidents”, I’m excited to read his account of all his parental stories and even advice.

    Blogging definitely does seem to be female occupied.

    • I love reading dad bloggers – Bruce Sallan from A Dad’s Point of View – Scott from This Daddy’s Blog and Brian from Daily Savings have all been wonderful, supportive, and interesting to read.

  20. This is an interesting discussion! In my field of psychology/health, there seem to be more extremely powerful celebrity men like Dr Oz and Dr Weil and KevinMD. There are a couple of high profile medical women like Dr Val, but not nearly as many. Psychology also has many more influential women, with a couple of very high profile men like Dr David Ballard from APA, Dr Huba, and Timothy O Mauro. It’s interesting how men manage to make it to the highest levels of female-dominated professions, but women are much less likely to make it to the highest levels of engineering, for example. With respect to styles, I think men say less, spend less time online, but are extremely strategic in connecting around key issues they have a stake in. Mid-level women like most of us, tend to be strategic but also social & open to friendship. In my opinion, the most closed are often high-level women in my field, perhaps protecting themselves from competition. I wondered if others had noticed this.

    • I think what intrigues me the most is that the social dynamics that we’ve seen in our “real” life interactions seem to continue to play out online even when the veil of gender anonymity thru the digital media would seem to filter that. I don’t know that it’s bad or good, just that men and women are different and that remains true even in the digital arena.

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