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Mars and Venus and the Internet

One of the new Pew Internet and American Life reports is called “>How Women and Men Use the Internet. It notes that women are catching up to men in most measures of online life. It observes that men like the Internet for the experiences it offers, while women like it for the human connections it promotes.
“The percentage of women using the Internet still lags slightly behind the percentage of men. Women under 30 and black women outpace their male peers. However, older women trail dramatically behind older men.
– 68% of men are internet users, compared with 66% of women. Because they make up more of the population, the total number of women online is now slightly larger than the number of men.
– 86% of women ages 18-29 are online, compared with 80% of men that age.
– 34% of men age 65 and older are online, compared with 21% of women that age.
– 60% of black women are online, compared with 50% of black men.
– Men are slightly more intense Internet users than women. Men log on more often, spend more time online, and are more likely to be broadband users.
– On a typical day, 67% of online men use the Internet, compared with 64% of women.
– 52% of men have broadband connections at home, compared with 48% of women.
– In most categories of Internet activity, more men than women are participants, but women are catching up.
– Compared with women, online men are more likely to: check the weather, get news, get do-it-yourself information, check for sports information, get political information, get financial information, do job-related research, download software, listen to music, rate a product/person/service through an online reputation system, download music files, use a webcam, take a class.
– Compared with men, online women are more likely to: use email, get maps and directions, look for health and medical information, use web sites to get support for health or personal problems, get religious information.
– For many online activities, the growth rate for women’s participation is greater than the growth rate for men’s, including: using government web sites, getting religious information, watching video clips or listening to audio clips, getting news, researching products.”
Anyway, that all interesting but I am always uncomfortable discussing gender differences in behavior. I guess it’s my 60’s upbringing.
Either way I seem to recall that public libraryland is at it’s most successful serving women and their children. Are there some insights that can be mined from this report about how we might better serve men? Is there something in this that would help us retain male users after they leave their educational institutions? Is the conversation an easy one? Probably not. There are however some insights in this report about the kinds of content and services that might atract and retain a wider demographic of users.
Either way, with our primary use mode migrating to web based users, we would be wise to know if this population of users is different than our ‘traditional’ mindset of users. Of course, we would then need to make sure we’re building the right environment for them, tesing it with the right folks and displaying the right content.
I don’t know the right answer but Hmmmm, it seems like a good question.

Posted on: January 1, 2006, 7:24 pm Category: Uncategorized

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