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What Women Want, Socially Speaking

Listen to any discussion, expert panel or stand-up comedian’s take on differences between men and women, and communication is always at the top of the list. Women are said to focus on details in conversation while men focus on action. This assessment is debatable (ask any couple), but recent research shows that when it comes to social media, women in the United States are indeed more talkative. And that trait has proven to be a driving force.

When the Pew Research Center, along with Nielsen and internet advertising company Burst Media, released data on demographic usage of social media, some figures conveyed the obvious. Such as 72 percent of adults, who are online, are active on social media. However experts at personal finance website, Alex Hillsberg and David Adelman, identified patterns in the research and compiled infographics to illustrate how women are propelling the success of certain sites.

So what did the study reveal?

What sites women lead

With the exception of LinkedIn, women are on social media more frequently across all the major platforms. Most notably, women dominate Pinterest, the global vision board that inspires and caters to hobbies and interests. Thirty-three percent of women who are online access Pinterest, towering over the eight percent of men on the site. Microblogging site Tumblr appeals to 56 percent of women online, compared to 46 percent of men.

Women and men are most active on Facebook, yet women still clock in more time with 76 percent of females using the site over 66 percent of males. Thus when it comes to friend requests, game and app invites and documenting what one is doing at any given moment and with whom, men are not far behind in sharing. The same is true for tweeting (18 versus 17 percent) and Instagram posting (20 versus 15 percent).

What women share

As newspaper pages contend with screens, two particular social media sites were identified as major sources of news for all online users – Facebook and Google+. However, women apparently serve as informers more than men on these sites. Where 58 percent of females online consume and share news on Facebook, over 42 percent of men. On Google+, the difference narrows a bit to 52 percent over 48 percent.

How they share

Speaking of screens, the advent of smartphones and mobile devices has now put social media literally in the hands of thousands of Americans. According to a Business Insider report, 60 percent of social media time is spent scrolling on a phone or tablet. Women take the lead here as well, as the discussion moves from the desktop to anywhere there’s a signal. Forty-six percent of women utilize smartphones to access their accounts compared to 43 percent of men, and only 20 percent of men use their tablets for social media compared to 32 percent of women.

What they follow

Women are more likely to follow and interact with brands on social media, with over half of women utilizing sites to support brands and take advantage of deals. They also use social media more to stay current with and comment on their favorite products. It appears for many women, social media bolsters consumer consciousness.

Whatever the basis is for why women and men communicate differently, social media is amplifying what and how women communicate. Businesses and publicists are wise to take note. As Hillsberg and Adelman advised, “We can expect more content and brands leaning towards women’s interests. If you’re a marketer, you should take these trends seriously to position your messaging.”

For those seeking supporting data in their next “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” debate on communication, perhaps use your best judgment. Hillsberg and Adelman do, however, see empowerment behind the study’s figures. “If you’re a woman, this is girl power that you can harness for serious gender issues.”

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Tags : social media

About Allison Richard

Allison Richard writes features and leads international content for Cision Blog. She oversees east Asian media for the research department, which suits her perfectly as she loves languages and culture. She also likes yoga, useless trivia, painting and comedy, in no particular order. Follow her on Twitter at @AllieTimes.

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