Friday, May 23, 2008

Men, Women and Social Networking Data

Late yesterday afternoon a headline on this subject caught my attention. It must say something about the rapidity of change and news in this space that this morning I can’t find it on either of the sites where I think I saw it! Fortunately, I used the time-honored tactic of making a cryptic note on a sticky pad and it led me back to the site Rapleaf.

I was looking for the data from their social media study, but on the way I took a small detour. Who can resist looking up their own email address to see what’s out there. The site knows correctly that I belong to Facebook and LinkedIn. It also has my Amazon Wish List—wonder how they got that? The data on my profile all came from MySpace (try it yourself, and you’ll see). I thought I had cancelled that account a long time ago. The link was connected to my very minimal profile on MySpace that still exists. I looked up the directions and tried to cancel the account—we’ll see.
Having satisfied my curiosity, I looked for the study. It’s not terribly new having been released in November 2007. It’s also not comprehensive; it covers only social networks on Google’s Open Social platform. Still, it’s very interesting. I just choose to take headlines from various articles on it; that gives you the links:

•The Social Media Gender Gap (Business Week, May 18, 2008)
Women ‘Lead the Way” in Social Networking (UK)
Women ‘Hold Down the Fort’ of Social Networking (UK)
Women ‘Outpacing Men’ on Social Media (UK)
More Men are Uber Connectors
Men More Likely to Use Social Networking for Business
Women Make More Friends on Social Networks
Women Like to Socialize But Men Are All Business on Social Networks
Men and Women Differ on Social Networks

Paints an interesting picture, even if you just read the headlines! But there’s more. They offer business services that, according to the site:

Analyze the social web footprint of your consumers to effectively plan online ad campaigns and engage with your consumers across social networks.

Discover the demographics of your customer base, including age and gender groups across social sites.

Identify influencers and friend groups among your consumers, to drive new referrals and viral marketing.

Yes, there are privacy issues. But it gives marketers who want to reach users of social networks not only a lot to think about, but a tool that may help them connect with networkers.


Anonymous said...

I took a look at Rapleaf and ran a search on my email address. Actually, it came up with the wrong information. Although it found my name and my age, it has a Facebook page, a Wishlist and a Plaxo connection which are not mine. Moreover, it has the wrong home address.

In other words, it knows almost nothing about the real me.

How can that happen if it is using my email address? I think Rapleaf needs more work before it is ready for prime time.

MaryLou Roberts said...

That's interesting, but I guess not surprising. I was upset because the info they had was correct (mostly my age!). So I guess it's a name thing. They took data for mine from 2 sources, MySpace and Amazon Wish List (I'm not sure I'm thrilled about that being public. . .), but they did get both right. There doesn't seem to be a way to challenge the info; I went back to look. In the process I also there's a map to Eastham--a very good reason for never putting your street adress on any of the social sites!!

Anonymous said...

Well that's interesting, and a little scary. I guess with all the networking sites out there it's unusual not to belong to a couple of them.