Think of the Internet and you think of men. Email was invented by a man, the World Wide Web was invented by a man and the whole basis of the way the interconnections on the global superhighway work was a male invention. Think too of who runs main web businesses; Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon – all started and run by men. It’s a man’s world this Internet malarkey.
Except it isn’t. Women rule the Internet – and on International Women’s Day today it is worthwhile reflecting on that.
In the past five years the web has been completely overtaken by social activity and interaction. And the vast majority of that social activity is done by women. On Facebook, for instance, 60% of the activity is done by women. Over at Pinterest it is much higher.
Women find it much easier than men to be social. Indeed, some theorists suggest that women are designed to be social and that men are designed to be competitive. Maybe. But whichever way you cut the data, the predominant web activity nowadays – social – is dominated by women.
Even though men run the big web companies – except Yahoo! – they are now having to build their web offerings with women much more in mind than before.
In the early days of online business it was all about competition. But increasingly these days it is about cooperation, joint ventures and doing things socially.
When the web was dominated by competitiveness, males were in their element. But now that social interaction and cooperation is leading the way, the web is becoming much more a woman’s place.
True, there is a long way to go before women run the business of the web. True, there is still a lot of competition online which men dominate. But the increasing socialisation online means that men are going to have to learn to be more social and less competitive if they are to cope in the more feminine world the web is becoming.