Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Why Do Men and Women Differ on Social Networking Sites?
Based on the readings, there are significant gender differences in the way men and women use social networking sites (namely, Facebook). According to Watkins and Lee, those discrepancies include women being more likely to post comments, "like" things, engage in personal conversation, and post photos. On the other side, men are more likely to post links to current events, and news related topics, and post videos to their wall (Watkins/Lee p11). Why do these differences exist?
There are a variety of reasons for this, the most significant being the way men and women are socialized. Women are brought up to value friendships and social interaction. This likely accounts for the increased number of photos posted and engaging in personal conversation on Facebook. Conversely, men are brought up to be opinionated and more individualistic. This explains the fact that men are more likely to post their views and links supporting them as opposed to commenting on other people's walls.
The difference in socialization also accounts for the fact that women are more likely than men to keep up with long distance friends. According to the study, 55% of females find it very important to communicate with friends who live in a different state or country while only 34.7% of men believe the same thing (Watkins/Lee p14). In the 20 or so psychology classes I've taken, it has become very clear that women are brought up to be more family oriented as well, and are more likely to be caretakers for elderly family later in life. Again, the familial socialization of women comes into play when it comes to the importance of communicating with family. 40.3% of women find it very important to chat with kin on Facebook whereas only 26.4% of men feel the same.
Though socialization is not the only reason for differences, I believe it is the strongest motivator for the discrepancies.
Posted by Matt Pindera at 11:24 PM