Women are Taking Over the Social Web

In the words of Martina McBride, “This One’s For The Girls.” Don’t look now, but women have taken over social media channels. Females spend more time than males on social media sites. They also contribute more, use mobile social networking more and they buy more stuff online than men do. A new survey released this week by the Pew Internet and American Life Project corroborates numerous other studies that show women dominating social media websites. This is particularly the case with Facebook and Twitter usage. The Pew survey found that more women than men use Facebook and Twitter regularly. They perform Facebook status and profile updates more regularly, comment more, add more photos and click the Like button more than men. If it were not for the constant feminine energy fueling Facebook on a daily basis, the site would be dead.

Participation in Social Network Sites Nearly Doubled and Majority are Women

The comprehensive telephone Pew survey of about 2,000 Americans found that the use of social media by Americans nearly doubled from 2008 to 2010. In 2008, only twenty-six percent of all adults and thirty-four percent of Internet users used social media. Just two-years later, forty-seven percent of all adults use social media and fifty-nine percent of Internet users now regularly frequent at least one site. Not only are more people than ever before using Facebook and other networking sites, they are also older. The average age used to be thirty-three, now it’s thirty-eight. And the social Web is now ruled by estrogen. Women make up over half of all social media users at fifty-six percent, and they hold sway over emailing, instant messaging, blogging and photo sharing, as well.

Women on Social Media

Men are just not that into social media anymore, apparently. In 2008, forty-seven percent of social networking site users were men. Two years later, that rate has dropped to forty-four percent, but the rate of female users has grown. Linkedin is the only social networking site that draws more male users, according to the survey.

Facebook Would be a Virtual Ghost Town Without Women

Mark Zuckerberg owes women big time. The Pew survey revealed that women do all the heavy lifting on Facebook and men just sit back and watch the show. Fifty-eight percent of all Facebook users are women compared to only forty-three percent men. Women do most of the status updating, at eighteen percent vs. eleven percent. Overall, both sexes have become lazy. Status and profile updates are performed much less often than in the past. Now, Facebookers spend most of their time commenting on other members’ photos and hitting the Like button. However, women still do more of it than men. Sixteen percent of female Facebook users comment on posts several times a day compared to only eight percent of men.

Women on Facebook and Twitter

In addition, thirteen percent of women vs. four percent of men comment on Facebook photos several times a day. The same goes for the Like button: twenty percent of the girls hit Like throughout the day, but only nine percent of the guys can summon the energy.

Watch Out Guys, The Girls Are Killing Us on Twitter Too

Girls are also flocking to the micro-blogging site Twitter. Facebook still rules the social networking universe, but Twitter is gaining more ground in the U.S. Most of these new Twitter users are women. The divide between men and women is greater. The Pew survey found that sixty-four percent of all Twitter users are women compared to only thirty-six percent men. This disparity is simply astounding.

How can the feminization of Twitter and Facebook be explained? One can speculate using generalizations – women can be more chatty and social than men, women tend to share more of their personal lives, and so on. Beyond generalizations, it’s hard to pinpoint. Social media marketers should take notice.

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    Will Facebook keep on growing?

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    I love Twitter and I’m totally hooked on social media. I haven’t found the value of Pinterest. I don’t want to stare at pictures of wedding dresses, cupcakes, room design and shoes :)

  32.    Reply

    I’m not sure I’m really surprised by this, and think your generalisations (albeit stereotypical) is probably the right explanation! I’d be interested to see if it is the same split in the UK.

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    Mars and Venus take their places in the blogosphere too, I’m sure.

    Concerning the Social Media gender shift, I agree that, “beyond generalizations, it’s hard to pinpoint.”
    This much I know, my wife jokingly refers to me Tweeting with my girl friends.

    Let’s behave, guys…

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    very interesting post) thanks a lot for sharing)

  53.    Reply

    wow I wouldn’t have guessed that the disparity would be so great. I also wonder what the percentages of posting pictures by sex on facebook and twitter: that may show an even bigger divide between the sexes

  54.    Reply

    It has been reported that, on average, men use 7,000 words per day and women use 20,000 words per day. So we do have a lot of surplus to go around on social channels. I don’t see this as a contest, so I don’t know if women are exactly “winning” in some race to be more social. I think women are just doing what they do, and the results tend to show their/our interests. Great post with good stats by the way ~ thanks for the nice summary!

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  56.    Reply

    Fantastic article. Thanks for the great insight

  57.    Reply

    Fascinating post Douglas, this is something I have speculated on before with Twitter so it’s really interesting to see some firm statistics.  I did some research relating to my Top Twitter People lists and the Twitter ‘Singups’  and found that the female/male split was broadly in line with the survey.

    I have added a link to my post so you can compare my own limited research and my tongue in cheek reasons why I think this is happening!


    Many thanks for another thought provoking post Douglas.


    1.    Reply

      That is a nice post Tony! Also – LOL that a lot of ladies on Twitter don’t seem to exist. Yes, that too. Regarding your conversation examples, I think it’s the whole ‘tend and befriend’ thing. We *need* to talk, it’s like food and breathing…

      1.    Reply

        Thanks Susan, glad you enjoyed the post and that you confirmed what I thought about you ladies loving to chat more than us men :-) I thought I might have been shot down in flames on that one so I am glad of some support :-)

        1.    Reply

          Absolutely! I definitely have the chatty gene :) I think your post was right on target

    2.    Reply

      Great complementary post  . As mentioned as one of your points, the social skills factor may have a lot to do with it. Great to see you Tony.

  58.    Reply

    Thanks for sharing. As a woman, I’m not surprised. :-)

  59.    Reply

    Hi Douglas. Thanks for sharing interesting stats. I compared this with the stats of my twitter followers and Facebook fans. Facebook: 71% female. Twitter: 34% female. What’s interesting here is that I share a lot of the same content on Twitter and on Facebook. But somehow attract different audiences.

    1.    Reply

      It’s interesting @JuanFlx:disqus how we tend to attract different audiences with same content. The keyword in the variation in outcome is “predisposition”. Because of the viral nature of many of the social platforms, where your connections and networking starts, tend to have impact on the future outcome of your network compositions. However, most people subscribe to the targeted follow play. This also has the potential to be a non discriminatory compositions catalyst, unless if your initial target audience were defined along gender line. 

      Overall, it’s very interesting to see your personal take on a similar ground. Thanks Juan.

  60.    Reply

    Not surprising. Great info. Thanks for sharing!

  61.    Reply

    It doesn’t surprise me.  As you said women converse more by nature and are more social.

  62.    Reply

    If you look only at influencers, though, then what does the gender split look like, I wonder…?

    1.    Reply

      The definition of influence actually is subjective @EmLeary:disqus . What and who is considered influential in one segment may not actually be known as an influencer in another. I have discovered from personal observation on both Twitter and Facebook, women tend to have closer and more active communities overall.

      1.    Reply

        Hi, I don’t disagree…I was just suggesting that it would be interesting to see what the gender balance is when you look specifically at those producing the most read content, the most RTd ideas, the most replied to conversations etc. Would be interesting to see, no?

        Emily Leary (formerly Cagle)

        1.    Reply

          Sure would interesting to see @twitter-18387217:disqus … but don’t be be surprised :)

  63.    Reply

    Good infographic! Thanks for interesting post!

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