Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Women addicted to Facebook? Or mainstream media just sexist?

I've been reading a lot today about a new study about young women's behavior on Facebook by Lightspeed Research, on behalf of the Oxygen Media Insights Group. I have yet to find the actual research report online so I can't comment on it, but it supposedly says that women are self-proclaimed Facebook addicts. And wow, the press has taken that and run with it, using it as an excuse to put down female behavior on Facebook overall.

The articles I have seen today, all written my men, show a distinct lack of understanding of how people in general use social networks. Women have always been more enthusiastic consumers of social networks—or at least ones where personal connections can be made and two-way conversations can occur. Yes, Twitter has a larger male audience but it's also about being listened to rather than conversing, a behavior more aligned with males.

I personally have conducted global research regarding social media and have found this to be true. In addition, the research I have done with young people show that males tend to use the Internet to meet (one can interpet that as "hit on") young women, whereas women do not generally conduct this behavior. So whose behavior is right here?

In summary, the coverage I have read today is sexist. If you're in the mainstream press, I'd suggest learning more about how people actually use the web before you make sexist judgements.

2 comments:

  1. You speak as though mainstream media still favors fact over sensationalism :)

    "Addicted" is a poor choice of words to describe social interaction. On the contrary; compulsive behavior is much rather an unsociable personality trait.

    We do know that women are generally more social and communicative. But we also know that social aptitude is a measure of intelligence. So if anything, this is a compliment to your sex.

    What bothers me is not that one or the other sex spends more time on Facebook, but rather, that they just decided to label it as negative.

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  2. One can just as well make the argument that the sex who spends the least amount of time on Facebook is therefore socially inadequate.

    But too many variables to make judgement calls and generalized statements like that. Each user has their own unique motivation for using Facebook.

    Excellent post, thanks! Kind regards.

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