60644 Gender Differences in Online Communities

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60644 Gender Differences in Online Communities

  1. 1. Gender in Online Communities Ellen Armstrong LIS 60644 March 11, 2008
  2. 2. History of Online Community <ul><li>Usenet </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Relay Chat </li></ul><ul><li>MUDs </li></ul>
  3. 3. Usenet
  4. 4. Online Community <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Share a common language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared web of virtual & textual significances that are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Substitutes for/distinct from wider community </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Shared meaning & significances
  6. 6. Internet Access By Gender <ul><li>www.pewinternet.org </li></ul><ul><li>More men that only access web from home </li></ul><ul><li>More women that only access web from work </li></ul><ul><li>Men spend more time online, regardless of location </li></ul>
  7. 7. Internet Use by Gender <ul><li>Email and product purchase have no bias </li></ul><ul><li>Men: spend more time surfing for fun, for financial information </li></ul><ul><li>Women: more time on travel info, health info, research for school </li></ul><ul><li>Biases more pronounced at home </li></ul>
  8. 8. Internet Use By Gender <ul><li>Different ways of using </li></ul><ul><li>Women send/use more email, chat, IM, egreetings & internet phone calls </li></ul><ul><li>and more likely to use it for personal </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to visit online communities for health issues or email family/friends about health issues </li></ul>
  9. 9. Online Perceptions <ul><li>Study of self-confidence in internet skills </li></ul><ul><li>Men rated themselves more highly than women in 4 different areas </li></ul><ul><li>Particularly hardware & troubleshooting </li></ul>
  10. 10. Perceptions - Myspace <ul><li>Content analysis on Lexis/Nexis using “myspace”, “victim” and “boy/girl” </li></ul><ul><li>Girls as victims of sexual predators (myspace as a tool) </li></ul><ul><li>Provocative photos & of girls attracts predators </li></ul><ul><li>Boys as threats/victimizer </li></ul>
  11. 11. Anthropology of Online Communities <ul><li>Not a utopia: groups still disenfranchised (class, gender, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on user communication, not technology </li></ul><ul><li>Constructed identity: not separate from real world </li></ul>
  12. 12. Gender in information technology revolution <ul><li>Context: 19th century mass media growth, 1960’s feminist networks </li></ul><ul><li>Both had personal networks & ephemeral texts </li></ul><ul><li>Predominantly female spaces vs. intentionally feminist spaces </li></ul>
  13. 13. Further Resources <ul><li>http://del.icio.us/ellen_a_/lis60644+gender </li></ul>
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