Can Women Dominate the Tech World the Way They Dominate Social Media?
I scream, you scream, we all scream for social media!
The advancement of technological innovation and digital media systems has impacted the ways in which humans interact and communicate within the digital space. Within social media, we can create ambiguous identities, possibly promoting an equitable technological system. How does social media support or oppose this ideology? The idea that men and women are different has in many ways actuated a separation, a divide amongst humanity; rather than an understanding and acceptance of diversity. Scholars and researchers have studied the implications of gendered differences, and how it impacts society within the realms of socio-economics, politics, religion, and sexuality, but what about social media?
According to one study compiled within an infographic, women seem to dominate Twitter (62%) and Pinterest (70%). Men are actively using LinkedIn (54%) and spending more time on YouTube (an hour per week vs. 35 minutes for women). What are the implications of these differing behaviors on social media? According to Pinterest Users in America 2012, “the number one reason women pin clothing and fashion is to get ideas. The number one reason men pin clothing and fashion is that they are items they plan to buy.” Based on this study, the suggestion is that men view Pinterest as a platform for economic activity; whereas women enjoy gathering ideas. More women are also on Facebook (doing more of the sharing) and Twitter, while more men are active users on LinkedIn, Reddit, and Google+.
Why are more men utilizing the professional networking sites like LinkedIn and Google+? Further psychographic studies are required to adequately explain gender differences in social media, but one idea may be that our society still points to men as being the dominant figures in the professional realm. According to the Huffington Post, "Natalie Kitroeff at the New York Times fears social media may have a saturated amount of women users, but that males are often considered the dominant figures online, possessing more clout in topics like foreign policy and politics." Based on this statement, even if women are dominating the social media space, are they necessarily more influential? Does numerical significance in the social media sphere circumvent existing power structures in society?
In general, many studies show that women are far more active users of social networking sites with 99 million more visits per month than their male counterparts. The behavioral and psychological implications of these statistics require further social research; however, there is much to speculate based on these profound findings. In the future, will the idea of gender be eliminated through the dominance of female users in the social media space or will men continue to be deemed as the iconic leaders despite numerical value? Only technology will tell.