Analysis: Foursquare/Facebook Show Gender Divide

The following is an interesting report found on about how men and women are using social media differently. Read the full article, but here’s a taste:

A funny thing happened on the way to evaluating our nonprofit agency’s social media results. We discovered a Mars/Venus connection.

Want to know where the boys are online? They are hanging out on Foursquare and other geo-location sites, outnumbering women by a 2:1 ratio. Meanwhile, on our Facebook page, women outnumber men by the same ratio. Of course, Foursquare isn’t anywhere as popular as Facebook, but there are some interesting takeaways from this analysis…

Foursquare tends to reward you with increased status by cultivating frequency without commitment. It’s a little more macho, like an animal marking his territory. Also, there may be a natural hesitance for women to declare their real-time location for safety concerns of stalking or robbery. At least, that’s what the women we talk to say. Guys don’t worry as much about the personal threat of revealing their whereabouts. And then, there’s the stereotype that men are more competitive. Foursquare promotes competition by awarding badges and increased status to frequent participants.

Just to be sure our findings weren’t unique, I did a little investigating and found some interesting confirming data. The Pew Internet research folk, who constantly monitor online behavior, published a piece in 2010 showing exactly the same 2:1 ratio of men using location-based services like Foursquare. And a writer for The Economist blogged in 2011 about “The Secret Sexism of Social Media” in which she noted: “At this year’s SXSW festival held in March in Austin, I ran into a social-media wonk from New York and asked him how he had been enjoying it. He said it was great: He had won five badges from Foursquare… securing the mayorship of his hotel’s pool. It occurred to me that I have yet to hear a woman brag about getting a badge from Foursquare, and that I never will. In fact, come to think of it, I barely hear women mention such services at all.”

Hat tip to Chamber staffer Ashton Eller for the article.