Monday, August 04, 2008

Ever wanted to know the gender and age breakdown of social networks?

Then Rapleaf has answered your prayers. They've just released the full dataset of the 49.3 million people included in the Study of Social Network Users vs Age. It covers the main online social networks including Bebo, Facebook, Myspace, Hi5, LinkedIn, Flickr and more.

Overall, it appears that women are significantly more active on social networks than men as they're more interested in nurturing relationships (confirmed by higher membership on sites like MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. Men on the other hand are more interested in transacting and therefore have a higher representation on LinkedIn (I wonder if that also exposes the gender gap in the workplace at executive level?)
Rapleaf tell us: "women spend more time on social networks building and
nurturing relationships, whereas men are less likely to spend as much time
nurturing relationships as they are 'transacting'."

The missing link in this study is of course the mobile element. None of the mobile social networks are included such as Mxit, Trutap or Peperonity. We also know that online social networks such as Facebook going mobile drives mobile data usage. My question is does that mean *women* will be driving the mobile data revolution (as they seem to be driving the online social networking revolution)? And if so, how are we tailoring mobile data services and the marketing thereof to women. In the UK at least, network operator advertising feels either masculine or gender neutral. It certainly doesn't feel very feminine to me (and I'm not talking about the expectation of seeing pink and pastel colours).

And if my hunch *is* right, then shouldn't we be designing this stuff with women in mind first if we really want to drive mobile data services forward? And if so shouldn't women have more of a voice in making decisions about their digital lives - be they on the mobile internet or the fixed line internet?

[gets off soapbox!]