Women and Social Media

Women and Social Media February 27, 2012

By Melissa Bell:

Do you see the same patterns? Social media becoming more and more populated by women? Social use vs. task-driven?

Are social media sites destined to always be the online equivalent of a seventh-grade dance? Men on one side, women on the other?

The numbers suggest that, instead, women will soon overrun the dance floor of social media sites — and what’s more, be the DJs, too.

Since 2008, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project’sKathryn Zickuhr, women have led men in the use of social media sites. Women not only outnumber men on the sites (69 percent of women use social media, compared with 60 percent of men), they also spend more time on them. Women use social media sites to be, well, social, whereas, Zickuhr says, men are more task-oriented, using the sites to promote themselves and gather information.

For Johanna Blakley, who researches the impact of mass media as a professor at the University of Southern California, the predominance of women on social sites could lead to a positive, although subtle, change in the way women are represented in media. In a TED Talk on the subject last year, she spoke about her belief that social media will help “dismantle some of the silly and demeaning stereotypes that we see in media and advertising about gender.”

Thanks to sites including Pinterest, women can assert via pins, posts and updates who they are and what they want, rather than be mere observers of an advertising-fueled culture.

Women are moving from passive purchasers to online authorities and tastemakers. Gender differences remain, but some of the false stereotypes might die a death by a thousand pins.


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  • Jennifer


    In my sermon yesterday I mentioned Pinterest. Every women in the congregation lit up and broke into a smile at just the mention of the site. Most of the men looked confused.

  • Andrew

    Men are from Google+, women are from Pinterest

    Maybe there is something to boys on one side, girls on the other….


  • TJJ

    The ocassonal survey of Pinterest pretty much confirms most of my sterotypes of woman, not debunk them.

  • Rick

    Jennifer #1-

    “Most of the men looked confused.”

    We are that way all of the time.

  • RJS

    What is Pinterest?

  • Elaine

    Sorry can’t help you – until this post, I thought it was a game.

    Now, for a quick Google search to solve this mystery…

  • Does social media give women access and voice in a way that we haven’t had in many communities due to institutionalized patriarchy, discrimination and the ol’ boys club, yes!!! It will change e v e r y t h i n g over time.

    P.S. Pininterest is a cyber-scrapbooking site. Let’s not generalize please about that. Not all women like to do crafts, make scrapbooks for every phase of their life, and make quilts.

  • Jennifer

    Rick#4 – LOL!

    Actually, I use Pinterest for more than just recipe/craft stuff. It’s one of the most helpful tools for organizing online sources for sermon prep. I can make a board for any topic/passage I want, and pin items to it that will be helpful as I do put my sermon together. I also have a board that’s a catch-all – things that I know will fit great in some sermon someday, but I cant put them in a category yet.

  • I love pinterest. Great for design and architecture and anything visual. I have been posting my book reviews there and getting almost as much traffic as twitter.