How Women Use Social Media, Part II


When we look at a blanket of fresh snow, it looks uniform and velvety white. But we all know the saying: “No two snowflakes are completely alike”, and likewise, no two people are the same. So what is the best way to differentiate online behavior in order to understand it?

In my previous post on how women use social media, the information I found initially compared the online behavior of women and men. Demographics and psychographics can be useful as a starting point to classify and understand the online behavior of women, however no two women are identical, whether they are single or married; have children; or are of a specific cultural heritage or race.

According to a BlogHer study, women who use online social media at least weekly are:

  • Married or living with their significant other (60%)
  • Mothers (44%)
  • College graduates (33%)
  • Wealthy—household income of $100,000 or more (11%)

Adweek references a study released by SheSpeaks comparing single and married women. Among the findings: Singles were a bit more likely than marrieds to cite “blogs/buzz/social media” as a source to learn about new products (40 percent vs. 36 percent).

So both of these studies seem to indicate that marital status (and being a mom) are not strong indicators of frequent social media usage, while education level and household income are.

Going a step further, in Forrester’s Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff conclude from their research that AlphaMoms are less likely to be creators, but that they overindex on critic activities. In other words, they are much less likely to create blogs, maintain websites or upload videos, but they definitely react to content on the web. AlphaMoms are also categorized as “Spectators” who consume content at a much greater rate than the average online American adult consumer. Forrester’s findings on young women, by contrast, conclude that they are more likely to be conversationalists.

So it may be concluded that it’s more useful to look at the types of activities which women in engage in online rather than relying on purely demographic data.

A survey by Yahoo’s Connectonomics explores a related but tangential direction:

Women use online channels in distinctly different ways. For instance, they post comments and share interesting links while visiting online communities, but prefer using social interest sites to write reviews. Similarly, email and social network sites are the preferred channels to share video links.

The Connectonomics research goes on to say that focusing on women’s core needs is more useful than segmenting by generational values. Women are more receptive to targeted advertising when they are researching information on content sites, rather than posting pictures of their children on Facebook to share with their friends and relatives. There aren’t that many deep and divisive differences in the ways women use social media, but women don’t want to be talked to as if they are all the same.

What information have you come across that you find useful in understanding how women use social media?

Photo: JulianColton2

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