Why is blogging such a boys club?Posted on Tue Oct 20 2009
So it was a bit jarring this week to see that 67% of bloggers are male, according to the newest installment of the Technorati State of the Blogosphere report.
Admittedly, this isn’t a new stat. In least year’s report, Technorati’s survey put the male blogger ratio at 66%. But compared to the other mainstream social media activities, it seems bizarrely guy-heavy.
What’s the deal? Why is blogging a boys club at a time when women are such a powerful force in creating social media content? I posed the question to some of the marketing industry’s top female bloggers. Check out their responses after the jump:
With blogging, there is very much a “this is my point of view” mentality. Blogging definitely requires more assertiveness by putting yourself out there.
Twitter and Facebook and interactions on social networks generally feel safer. Quick interactions and conversations are not the same as standing on a soapbox. Even if bloggers don't approach their blog with a soapbox mentality, the fact that they're putting their perspective out there with a unique domain name, etc., requires a kind of courage I think a lot of women still lack. Because it's hard as hell sometimes to deal with the repercussions of transparency in your personal life and with others in the workplace.
I think that it requires a kind of social courage — a willingness to create discourse, stand your ground publicly. A lot of women are more comfortable operating behind the scenes.
I'm generally the voice of feminism in conversations like these. And certainly I'd like to decry some barrier or hurdle that's kept women from having a larger share of voice in the blogosphere. But, honestly, I'm just surprised.
Surely male voices dominate the A-list blogs (if we even call them that anymore). But if you had asked me to guess, I would have said women make up the vast majority of total bloggers. Women are more likely to share their lives and be emotionally rewarded by sharing recommendations.
I do wonder if they've simply migrated more quickly to Facebook and microblogging. I read in Harper's a few months ago that 94% of blogs haven't been updated in at least four months. Are men more likely to blog or simply more likely to still be blogging?
Even though blogging is a social medium, or can be, it is not as inherently social as social networks, which bring people together. Women like doing that. Men are probably more tactical about it, for instance, being on social networking for career purposes.
When you think about it, blogging is more of a publishing platform. It has social features, but isn't necessarily about building a network.
I'll say something a little controversial here: Men have time to blog. Most women don't. As a working mom of two, something becomes clear the deeper you get into mom-hood. For most of us, the majority of the parenting is mom's job, even if both parents are working, so who has time to blog?
Here’s my take, which perhaps falls most in line with Shannon’s summary: The male-blogging ratio is a baffling number, but only if you assume that blogging is most related to social networking (55% female) or journalism, a field whose recent graduating classes are typically two-thirds female.
But what if you compare it to politics? As a blogger, you’re voicing your opinions and putting yourself out there for public scrutiny.
That analogy makes bloggers seem downright balanced by comparison. Women make up just 17% of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. At the state level, women on average make up 24% of legislatures.
Could the same social forces be holding women back from both blogging and public office? The analogy obviously has its weak spots, namely that politics is all about public acceptance. In other words, the percentage of women in office is largely a sign of how often Americans will elect a woman — not so much how often a woman will run for office. But blogging doesn't require any public acceptance. You just need the will or desire to do it.
So what do you think? Are bloggers more likely to be male because men feel more secure (or at least less vulnerable) in expressing opinions? Do guys just have more free time? Is it simply because so many of the early adopters were men from the tech industry? Or is it something else entirely? I’d love to hear your thoughts.