We already know that women rule social media. There are more women users on Facebook and Twitter, and they spend more time than men on these sites. What makes certain social networking sites more female or male oriented?
Less than 15% of Wikipedia editors are women. Only 36% of Digg users are women, and its content doesn’t exactly scream gender equality. Meanwhile, Pinterest (a virtual pinboard sharing site) seems to be a community mostly made of women.
New social network Chime.in is actually not calling itself “social,” but an “interest network.” This means it will revolve around subjects, like tech, rather than people. Is there a clear divide between the two? And what does the answer to this potentially mean for women?
For now, Chime.in appears to be a gender-neutral place where men and women can speak and share freely and equally. Then again, so did Google+, which is still only 31% women. The most headline-grabbing aspect of Chime.in has been the concept that it could generate cash for users through advertising sales, leading to a deluge of get-rich commentary. Will the site even be social? Or a profit-driven interest site for the self-interested?
As for whether women will buy into Chime.in, it depends on whether it caters to their basic roles and natures. Women are expected to be caregivers. They get pregnant. They have families. They are the glue of their interconnected communities. They can’t be 100% self-interested. Perhaps this is why they tend to dominate community based social networking like Facebook, rather than linear, systematic sites like Wikipedia.
Women won’t chime in to a site without a strong community. Chime.in won’t have much of a relationship with women unless it remembers what keeps them interested–a place that feels like an extended family, a real community in their virtual worlds.