Category Archives: twitter

Twitter Research Findings: Gender Differences Abound

Is Twitter the Mad Men of online social networks? It may appear so as gender differences abound and males dominate the environment.bird

Research released by the Harvard Business School  examined the activity of a random sample of 300,000 Twitter users in May 2009 to find out how people are using the service. They then compared their findings to activity on other social networks and online content production venues.  Here are some of the findings which focus on gender differences. The results are fascinating:


  •  Of the sample (300,542 users, collected in May 2009), 80% are followed by or follow at least one user. By comparison, only 60 to 65% of other online social networks’ members had at least one friend (when these networks were at a similar level of development). This suggests that actual users (as opposed to the media at large) understand how Twitter works.
  • Although men and women follow a similar number of Twitter users, men have 15% more followers than women. Men also have more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other. This “follower split” suggests that women are driven less by followers than men, or have more stringent thresholds for reciprocating relationships.
  • Men comprise 45% of Twitter users, while women represent 55%. To get this figure, we cross-referenced users’ “real names” against a database of 40,000 strongly gendered names. Even more interesting is who follows whom.
  • An average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman.
  • Similarly, an average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman.twitter research
  • An average man is 40% more likely to be followed by another man than by a woman. These results cannot be explained by different tweeting activity – both men and women tweet at the same rate.

cool-bird-twitter-icon2The study then goes on to say that given what previous research has found in the context of online social networks the results are even more interesting. In a typical online social network, most of the activity is focused around women – men follow content produced by women they do and do not know, and women follow content produced by women they know. Read more about the research paper regarding Twitter. and gender differences.


The findings are extremely valuable for those looking at Twitter as either a knowledge-sharing exercise within organisations and also for marketers looking to utilise the tool to engage with consumers online.  For example if the way to reach a woman on Twitter is through a man the impacts on influencer networks are surely impacted. More analysis to come!

About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based research-led Social Media Consultancy .  Enjoy the article? please subscribe to the RSS Feed



Filed under twitter

Social Media – Why it’s not all about you.

How many times have you heard marketers or pr professionals say:

– “Social Media is so hard to get over the line’  and -‘Its hard to demonstrate the ROI of Social Media’ or

-‘The CEO is just not on board with the Social Media idea’

These comments typically come from individuals that do not have the full business picture in mind when they are talking with their client.

As marketers we often think of Social Media as part of our own personal toolkit – albiet a growing and quickly developing one. Via Social Media we have the capacity to reach consumers,  with some prs still aiming to get a few messages across  (yes very old school) and ideally raise the brand profile and ultimately sell the item that we are marketing.

So what is wrong with that notion? After working in traditional media, online pr, market research 2.0 and knowledge management it is clearly evident that we need to recognise that Social Media touches all the above disciplines within a business including R&D and CRM.  As individuals within those disciplines we need to step outside our own areas and look at how we deliver business value across many areas of the business  – a much more wholistic approach.

So how is this relevant to you as a marketer? First understand that the Twitter account that you are trying to sell in for pr purposes can also be used for CRM and that means working with those relevant internally to support customers if complaints arise.  That branded Online Community that you are thinking about will provide ROI for many elements of your business including innovation and R&D. It is not just about your big shiny idea or your pr/marketing silo, or for that matter (and this is positive) the marketing budget.

Finally social media strategies can be devised and initially implemented by agencies but collaborative maintenance must come from the company itself.   What is maintenance? after the initial burst of creative activity is the hard yakka of continuing the conversation with your consumers, listening to them and embracing what you learn. If your social media marketing agency is simply selling you a one-off campaign and not educating you along the way they are doing you a disservice. Sure campaigns such as World’s Best Job have a finite time period but most customer engagement strategies should be for the long-term.

Social Media has the power to transform a company,  break down internal silos, deliver excellent ROI, engage with consumers and deliver more relevant products to the marketplace but we need to first recognise its not all about us.

About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based Social Media Consultancy . Enjoy the article?please subscribe to the RSS Feed .

Update May 9 Mashable produced an excellent article using Twitter for customer service well worth a read!


Filed under Digital PR, Enterprise 2.0, Market Research, marketing, online communities, Social Media, social media strategy, twitter

Tweeting before birth

Has twitter reached maturity? This week it may seem that way with unborn babies now able to tweet.baby1

A tech student from NYC who didn’t want to miss a single moment of his wife’s pregnancy, has invented a device that instantly posts his unborn baby’s kicks on Twitter…

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