Friday, February 19, 2010

Girls just want to have f...errr, Social Media?

“We are working hard to build a service that everyone, everywhere can use, whether they are a person, a company, a president or an organization working for change.” –Mark Zuckerberg, on Facebook getting it’s 200 millionth user.

University of Maryland Students: 36,000

2009 Population of the Unites states: 305,529,237

Facebook Users: 400,000,000 +

There are more then 400 million active Facebook users. There are only 305 million people living in America. 70% of Facebook’s users do not live in America, according to Facebook’s statistics page.

Facebook has come a long way since it’s conception in 2004 in the Harvard dorm room of Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook appears to have “stolen” many users from the now-old MySpace. The following chart shows a downward trend in MySpace users since Dec. of 08 occurring simultaneously with an upward surge in Facebook users. (Interestingly, the bottom line, Twitter, seems very stagnant. Has Twitter hit a user plateau?)

(Photo from

Facebook and MySpace appear to have different age demographics, with MySpace appealing more to the younger ages (<18)> However, on both sides, female usage is higher than male usage. A study by iStrategyLabs
states that, in 2010, 54.3% of users are female, while 42.6% are male (apparently 3% are “unknown.” I’m going to assume that means unlisted.)
According to Quantcast, a Web site that has its basis in viewing statistics and demographics of other websites, females also account for more than half of Twitter users. For the past few years, men have dominated the internet and comprised the majority of internet users, but on many social networking sites, women rule.


So why is this? Why are female users more prevalent on social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter? And what does this mean for women in social media?

“One word: Opportunity,” according to Jessica Faye Carter, a columnist featured on According to Carter, social media not only presents the opportunity for companies to reach women (as consumers or employees,) but also for women to “lead, effect change, innovate, and build relationships across sectors, locally, nationally, and globally.” Social media may be helping to decrease the gender gap in online usage. Carter says that women now comprise 47% of mobile web users, a number representing a 43% increase between 2008 and 2009.

But why is social media the thing bringing women to the Web? What is it that is alluring about these sites?

Some say it boils down to science. Males are better at math and spatial reasoning, and women are better at tasks involving information processing and interpreting social information. (this article) Author Louann Brizendine, in her book The Female Brain, says that while men’s brains need to process 7,000 words per day, women’s brains need the power to process 20,000.

So is there really a biological reason for this? Do our female brains direct us towards social networking sites? Did my brain make me sign up for Twitter?


The ventral frontal cortex (VFC) of the human brain has been identified as the main player in social cognition (tasks including facial recognition, perceiving and experiencing emotion.) A specific part of the VFC, called the straight gyrus (SG,) may be responsible for better social awareness and interpersonal perception. According to studies done by Professors Wood and Nopoulos of the University of Iowa, the SG is larger in grown women. Interestingly, “psychological gender,” or whether you identify more with masculine or feminine traits, also has an effect on the size of the SG. So this introduces the age-old nature vs. nurture debate. Are women better communicators because genes influence their brains, or because social pressures cause them to more highly develop the part of the brain associated with communication? . (this article)

Whether it boils down to genetics, stereotypes, or pure coincidence, women have finally found an online world they can rule.

(For more stats on the gender differences in social media usage, check out this website!)

Happy Friday! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment