Generation Y Women: ‘Power Users” of Social Networks

As ZDNet put it, “It should come as no surprise that social networking growth has significantly increased over the past three years.” Indeed; it has doubled from 29 percent in 2008 to 65 percent this year. However, the focal point of the story is the young women that have been the driving force behind the increase. But we can’t say we’re surprised – we’ve reported the same trend in previous posts regarding social media – but what is it about Generation Y women that draws such frequent engagement with Facebook, and social media in general? ZDNet takes a harder look at the social differences between modern-day men and women in attempts to solve this ongoing mystery.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 89 percent of women aged 18 to 29 years old are connected to social networking sites. The report also notes that women have been “significantly more likely” to be on social media sites than men since 2009. The statement is particularly noteworthy due to the fact that the majority of technology-driven trends are male dominated. “What the research does not question is whywomen are spending more time on social media sites than men,” stated the article. Statistically, women receive higher exam grades than men, and also have more photos on their profile page. Men tend to exhibit more narcissistic traits in person, according to the article. Women are also more career-focused and “hyper-aware of their own standing within a social network – online and offline.” Men tend to be more concerned with displaying their alpha-male status in person, instead of through “an indirect means of social networking.”

Although the reasons aren’t quite clear, the fact of the matter is that participation in Facebook and other social networking sites is steadily increasing. There haven’t been enough studies on the differences between men and women in regards to online social engagement to draw a definitive conclusion, and although many hypothesize that we’ll eventually reach a state of relative social androgyny, we have yet to see any hard facts and reasoning behind these trends.

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