Masculine Facebook and feminin Twitter – or was it the other way around?

Are there any gender differences in online behaviour and why so? That’s the topic in an article at CNNMoney, even though it never discusses gender differences on Twitter and Facebook (annoying when the title is “Men are from Facebook, women are from Twitter?”). However, I forgot that when I saw that my good friend Mary Madden from Pew Internet and American Life was quoted:-) Check out her work, she’s an expert in everything related to online music! Here is Mary on Twitter.

Male Female

Photo: briansuda, Flickr, CC

Anyway, the article presents a new study from eMarketer (not available online), which says that more women than men use the Internet, however, male Internet users tend to spend more time surfing the Web than females.

Unpartisan as I am, I think the best quote came from Mary:

“I would say for every situation where you think a trend may be confirming a stereotype, there seems to be another counterintuitive trend that might emerge as well,” says Mary Madden, a senior research specialist at the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

A Norwegian journalist, Hege Ulstein, called Twitter “a lonely and elitist man” while Facebook is “a popular and down-to-earth woman” (my translation). Another journalist, Jan Omdahl, argued that Ulstein not only was completely wrong, she had also insulted tons of women.

Based on my Twitter/Facebook friends, here is my very unscientic impression:

Facebook is filled with men and women, young and old, while Twitter is still dominated by men. Facebook is neutral for me, neither feminin nor masculine. On Twitter however, I see a pretty masculine crowd hanging out. But interestingly enough, that seems to be changing.

Luckily, Pew has done the hard work and dug up the data. From a report in Feb. this year, “Twitter and status updating”, here is the (American) numbers.

Median age of different social media users:

  • Twitter: 31
  • MySpace: 27
  • Facebook: 26
  • LinkedIn: 40

Gender difference on Twitter, according to Quantcast (via Socialmediatoday):

  • Women: 54 %
  • Men: 46 %

When we talk about our impression of who are hanging out on Twitter (or dining. Idaa Aalen has cleverly explained Twitter as a dinner party), if will of course be influenced by who we are following. I followed mostly male geeks in the beginning, but I’m happy to see that the female geeks are also starting to talk loud:-)  To learn about a very advanced and professional Twitter strategy, read NY University journalism professor Jay Rosen’s outline of Mindcasting.

I’m benteka at Twitter.

But why are the kids avoiding Twitter (I’ve got some ideas, do you)?

3 thoughts on “Masculine Facebook and feminin Twitter – or was it the other way around?

  1. If we look at FBs own statistics and compare users from USA with users from Norway(where FB was introduced 2 years later) we find some interesting differences when it comes to demographics. The users in USA are older and “mostly” women (female 58%-male 42%), compared to Norway (51%-49%). It will be interesting to see if this is a trend or because of other variables (as the fact that the first users in USA was solely University students, or that FB has develop into a more ‘male friendly’ application). I haven’t seen any data on the demographic development of FB in USA, so it’s hard to tell.

    As for Twitter, I doubt that it ever will be a hit among the kids unless there are made some changes. Ok, I don’t like Twitter, so maybe that makes me less clairvoyant. I have given it a couple of chances, and I still just find it annoying and useless.
    Someone once said Twitter was ‘cool’, because some old trend experts told us so. Such arguments may be embraced by journalists and other ‘trendy’ people, while kids rather use technology they actually think is cool.

    (OK, I just realized I yet again have to try to enjoy Twitter🙂

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