A Comparison: Men VS. Women’s Online Behavior

2009 April 27
by Grace Boyle

In high school I did a science fair project in conjunction with a Brain Research Institute evaluating risk-taking behavior in adolescents, while focusing on the prefrontal cortex development in the brain comparing men and women. I’m far from a science geek, but data and research like this really astounds me (hey, I even got 5th in the State of Iowa) and I think it pertains to everyday life.

What I found and learned in high school, has helped me with relationships (personal, friendships, professional) and I’m still intrigued because men and women are so different. I know, I’m stating the obvious but did you ever wonder why? Since I spend a lot of my time online, I started to find interesting studies about the significant difference in online behavior of men versus women.

Photo Credit: Come Date Blog


Pew Internet Study shows the that men are “the hunters,” where their status comes from how well they are able to accomplish tasks and go online, get what they’re looking for, and get out. Women are “the nurturers and gatherers,” they employ social networks for information, make comparison to find the best option and maintain these connections. This can be tracked back to prehistoric age with hunter-gatherers and really can connect to any activity in life.

Compared with women, online men are more likely to use the Internet to:
-Check the Weather
-Get News
-Check for sports information
-Get Political information
-Get financial information
-Do a job-related search
-Download software
-Listen to music

Compared with men, online women are more like to use the internet to:
-Send and receive email
-Get maps and directions
-Look for health and medical information
-Use websites to get support for health or personal problems
-Get religious information

More women than men send and receive email and they use it in a “richer and more engaging way.” Women write to friends and family, but there is a commonality between men and women that we both appreciate email for its “efficiencies and convenience.”

I find the comparison between what men and women interesting in this specific example: After 9/11 men visited more websites to tell them about things that were happening while more women said the internet helped them find people they needed to reach. There’s a distinct difference between the actions of their online behavior with a curiosity versus a need to connect.

This is an interesting concept that we choose different websites, we react differently and treat the online space differently. However, at the end of the study the researchers cite, “our data show that men and women are more similar than different in their online lives, starting with their common appreciate of the internet’s strongest suit: efficiency.” The second strength that men and women value is the internet as a “gateway to limitless vaults of information.” Of course, there is room for generality here and there are the exceptions. I believe the information is interesting but it’s nice to find a common ground even amongst our inherent differences. What do you think?

Male or Female: Do you agree with these statistics? How do you think you’re sharing or contributing to the online behavioral generalities?

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  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    This is very interesting. Of course, we already know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but I never really thought about it in online terms. I'm not quite sure how I feel about their findings. I think I've actually done as much, if not more, of the “online men” things than the “online women” things, but I might just be an exception.

    It doesn't surprise me that both men and women use the Internet for the same overall reason. No matter who we are, we are looking for efficiency and instant information, and that's what the Internet provides. Thanks for sharing this study!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    Sam, I also disagreed more with the findings for what women seek out online, but in the last few years their poll reveled this information. Interesting…this also could have come from women who are not career-focused in a round up of more mothers, but I'm not sure.

    I liked finding the efficiency commonalities. That makes the most sense to me too.

  • http://bloggersentral.blogspot.com/ GreenLava

    Interesting, maybe I could make something out of this data. Anyway I like this -“…the internet as a “gateway to limitless vaults of information””.

  • admin

    @GreenLava It is very interesting, isn’t it? I hope to see new numbers and studies change as the years go on. Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://bloggersentral.blogspot.com/ GreenLava

    Interesting, maybe I could make something out of this data. Anyway I like this -“…the internet as a “gateway to limitless vaults of information””.