Gender differences in social media and mobile use
Tyrants brought down from their pedestal. Entire governments were toppled. Institutionalized biases challenged. Big brands cowed. Gaming and shopping habits changed. And daily contact with grandma.
These are some of the social alterations inspired by social media and mobile devices. Perhaps we haven’t seen yet a more potent and disruptive mix than the convergence of these two platforms cutting across the serious—government transparency—and the trivial—who got the cutest cat. Both platforms are revolutionary, but they also mirror our traditional gender biases.
An infographic published by Finances Online reviews how men and women differ in social media and mobile use. Culled from recent surveys conducted by Pew and Nielsen, among others, the findings tell us what we already know—men are from Mars—and some things that we don’t—there are men in Venus.
Debunking gender stereotypes
Who like video games more?
It turned out women play games more often than men, at least with a smartphone. Boys may still be ruling it over in game consoles, but girls dominate the mobile and social games. Thirty-eight percent of women with a smartphone play mobile games compared to 28% of men.
Likewise, women are likelier to download mobile apps (games, anyone?), but the difference is slight at 27% vs. 26% for men. Still, it debunks the myth that women are less tech-savvy, or to put it in perspective, women can be couch potatoes, too.
On the deals front, men also like to shop for offers. But there’s a twist: men like quickies while women want to take is slow.
Fifty-six percent of men would scan QR codes or coupons to get the offer versus 39% of women. Women on the other hand prefer a social media encounter first, with 71% of them liking or following a brand page to get deals compared to 18% of men.
The deal difference has nothing to do with our sexual habits; rather, it harks back to our primitive social structure when men needed to act fast for food (kill a deer, for instance), while women required patience to tend to the farm.
Reinforcing gender stereotypes
Stereotypes are formed not without some basis and we see some of these gender biases reinforced in social media and mobile use.
Men like to talk about work and women, while women talk more about relationships, among others, in social networks.
In fact, women dominate men when it comes to the top reasons for using social media, mainly: staying in touch with friends and family (65% vs. 53%); sharing photos (28% vs. 23%); entertainment (48% vs. 45%); and how-to information (37% vs. 30%). The last insight brings to mind the stubborn husband who refuses to ask for directions despite the wife’s insistence as their car weaves through unchartered territory.
On the other hand, online dating and business are the only main social media activities where men outnumber women (we know you’re asking, where’s porn? but that’s another matter). About 27% and 13% of online men use social media for business and dating, respectively, compared to 22% and 7% for women.
Here’s a trivia—what do mobile ads got to do with our prehistoric social structure? The findings showed that women ignore paid ads more often than men (48% vs. 42% for social media ads; and 59% vs. 52% for text ads).
We can imagine that paid ads are like unsolicited strangers that meddle in in our daily affairs for which women would be less receptive, prodding into work their primordial social biases honed by being safely tucked in the comforts of prehistoric villages.
Meantime, men would be out hunting spurred by their presumed terrain knowledge. To ask for directions was a brutal blow to a hunter’s survival; that is, the lack of terrain knowledge could put the hunter in an ambush trap by the saber-tooth. It’s no surprise that men outnumber women in using smartphones for GPS.
Social media and mobile use reflects our social biases in real life, but, occasionally, surprises spring up. Both platforms are most exciting when they disrupt, challenge or even change stereotypes in whatever form, including our gender idiosyncrasies.
Next time your husband puts down your request to ask for route 66 exit, understand that you’re impugning on the very fabric of his prehistoric survival. Or he’s just plain stubborn, maybe.
Most Influential Women in Tech to Follow on Twitter
1. Meg Whitman, the president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard. You can follow Meg Whitman on twitter @MegWhitman.
2. Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Cisco. Also listed on CEOWORLD Magazines “Top Chief Technology Officers To Follow On Twitter” You can follow Padmasree Warrior on twitter @Padmasree.
3. Arianna Huffington, A digital media pioneer, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Pulitzer Prize-winning Huffington Post. You can follow Arianna Huffington on twitter @ariannahuff.
4. Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo! You can follow Marissa Mayer on twitter @marissamayer.
5. Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook. You can follow Sheryl Sandberg on twitter @sherylsandberg.
6. Ingrid Vanderveldt, an entrepreneur, investor and media personality. As Dell’s first Entrepreneur in Residence, Vanderveldt works to connect women with tools, technology & resources. In addition to her work with Dell, Vanderveldt co-founded The Billionaire Girls Club and serves on the UN Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council. You can follow Ingrid Vanderveldt on twitter @ontheroadwithiv.
7. Shaherose Charania, CEO, Co-Founder, and President of Women 2.0. a media brand designed for the next generation of technology leaders. Women 2.0 creates content, community and events for aspiring and current innovators in technology. You can follow Shaherose on twitter @shaherose.
8. Alexia Tsotsis, co-editor of TechCrunch, Alexia has a pulse on all things tech, and delivers that pulse to Twitter in quite entertaining fashion. You can follow Alexia Tsotsis on twitter @alexia.
9. Danae Ringelmann, Co-founded Indiegogo in 2008 with a mission to democratize fundraising. She has helped the company become the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. She currently serves as Indiegogo’s Chief Development Officer. You can follow Danae Ringelmann on twitter @gogodanae.
10. Rashmi Sinha, Co-Founder of SlideShare, which was acquired by LinkedIn. You can follow Rashmi Sinha on twitter @rashmi.
11. Sara Chipps, Co-Founder, software developer, and organizer of Girl Develop It, an international organization, that exists to provide affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction. Sara is also the CTO of Levo League, where she focuses on developer happiness as a metric for success. You can follow Sara Chipps on twitter @SaraJChipps.
12. Reshma Saujani, the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future. After becoming the first Indian-American woman in the country to run for U.S. Congress, Saujani served as deputy public advocate of New York City. She founded Girls Who Code in 2012. You can follow Reshma Saujan on twitter @reshmasaujani.
13. Allyson Kapin, the Founder of Women Who Tech and Rad Campaign, deeply committed to organizations that want to change the world and socially responsible businesses that want to claim their corner of it. You can follow Allyson Kapin on twitter @WomenWhoTech.
14. Jenna Wortham, a New York Times tech reporter and author of some of my favorite recent tech stories including “Valley of the Blahs: How Justin Bieber’s Troubles Exposed Twitter’s Achilles’ Heel.” Jenna captures the Internet’s collective consciousness like no other, and knows the next trend in Internet-based business before almost anyone else. You can follow Jenna Wortham on twitter @jennydeluxe.
15. Wendy Tan, Co-Founder & CEO of Moonfruit, the UK’s leading DIY website and online shop builder for SMB’s to publish on web, mobile and social platforms. You can follow Wendy Tan on twitter @wendytanwhite.
16. Kaliya Hamlin, Founder of She’s Geeky, to inspire women for the future, creating a space to connect women from diverse STEM communities. You can follow Kaliya Hamlin on twitter @IdentityWoman.
17. Nitasha Tiku, writes for both Gawker and its gossipy younger sister ValleyWag, and uses words like “spazzbasket” on a daily basis. You can follow Nitasha Tiku on twitter @nitashatiku.
18. Mary Hodder, an entrepreneur, founder, user researcher, user advocate and early adopter. She founded Dabble.com, a social search site that helps people organize and playlist media they like, and discover great media through other’s recommendations. You can follow Mary Hodder on twitter @MaryHodder.
19. Sian Morson, a tech entrepreneur, mobile evangelist, founder and CEO of Kollective Mobile, a mobile development agency. You can follow Sian Morson on twitter @xianamoy.
20. Evelyn Rusli, Tech reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Evelyn Rusli is the gal to follow for news of who is buying who, why, and what else happened behind the scenes. You can follow Evelyn Rusli on twitter @EvelynRusli.
21. Kimberly Bryant, Founder of Black Girls Code, a top technology education nonprofit focusing on teaching girls ages 6-17 from underrepresented communities skills in computer programming and technology. You can follow kimberly on twitter @6Gems.
22. Vanessa Hurst, Co-Founder, a data-focused technologist, and organizer of Girl Develop It, You can follow Vanessa Hurst on twitter @DBNess.
23. Leila Janah, the founder and CEO of Samasource, a nonprofit that provides employment to people living in poverty and offers high-quality data services to LinkedIn, eBay, Walmart.com, and the US State Department. Leila also co-founded SamaUSA, which provides online work to low-income community college students, and Samahope, which crowdfunds critical medical treatments in developing countries. You can follow Leila Janah on twitter @leila_c.
24. Holly Ross, Executive Director of the Drupal Association, an educational non-profit organization that tasks itself with fostering and supporting the Drupal software project, the community and its growth. You can follow Holly Ross on twitter @drupalhross.
25. Amra Tareen, CEO of LittleCast, a mobile app and web platform that allows users to sell videos directly on Facebook. Prior to LittleCast, Amra founded AllVoices, a citizen news site. You can follow Amra Tareen on twitter @amratareen.
26. Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776, a major initiative which convenes and accelerates startups from around the world. You can follow Donna Harris on twitter @dharrisindc.
27. Brit Morin, the founder and CEO of Brit + Co., a lifestyle technology company. Brit + Co. offers DIY projects, style tips, recipes, apps and gadgets that make life simpler, inventive and fun. You can follow Brit Morin on twitter @Brit.
28. Ping Fu, Co-founder of 3D Systems, a leading provider of 3D printing centric design-to-manufacturing solutions including 3D printers, print materials and cloud sourced on-demand custom parts for professionals and consumers alike in materials including plastics, metals, ceramics and edibles. You can follow Ping Fu on twitter @pfugeomagic.
29. Amy Jo Martin, founded Digital Royalty in 2009 to help companies, celebrities, professional sports leagues, teams and athletes build, measure and monetize their digital universe.You can follow Amy Jo Martin on twitter @AmyJoMartin.
30. Leanne Pittsford, the CEO of Start Somewhere, a design and technology agency for nonprofit and social enterprise organizations. She also founded Lesbians Who Tech, a network for LBTQ women in tech, and Lean Impact, an organization that helps social entrepreneurs integrate lean startup principles into their businesses. You can follow Leanne Pittsford on twitter @lepitts.
31. Jean Case, a philanthropist and pioneer in interactive technologies. She created the Case Foundation in 1997 with her husband. Case serves on the National Geographic Society Board of Trustees, as well as the advisory boards of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, the Brain Trust Accelerator Fund, and the Social Impact Investing Task Force (SIITF). You can follow Jean Case on twitter @jeancase.
32. Amanda Spann, the communications and content manager for IBM Cloud Category. Prior to arriving at IBM, she co-founded and served as CMO of Blerdology, a tech social enterprise to support and engage the black tech community, and an organization that hosted hackathons targeting African-Americans. You can follow Amanda Spann on twitter @AmandaSpann.
33. Ayah Bdeir, the founder and CEO of littleBits, an award-winning library of electronics dubbed “LEGOs for the iPad generation.” Bdeir is an engineer, interactive artist and one of the leaders of the open hardware movement. Bdeir’s work is centered around the goal of advancing open source hardware to make education and innovation more accessible to people around the world. You can follow Ayah Bdeir on twitter @ayahbdeir.
Who would you like to see on this list? Let me know in the comment section. Thanks!
What do you think about the ongoing debate about the dearth of women in tech? Let us hear your two cents on the issue by leaving a comment below.