Men Find Experiences on the Internet; Women Prefer Human Connections

Men Find Experiences on the Internet; Women Prefer Human Connections

In a recently released Memo/Report on the use of the Internet by both men and women from PEWInternet, Deborah Fallows, Senior Research Fellow at the Pew Internet Project and author of the new report, writes that men pursue many Internet activities more intensively than women, and that men still try the latest technologies first. Fallows continues, though, noting that women are catching up in overall use and are framing their online experience with a greater emphasis on deepening connections with people.

"If there is an overall pattern of differences here, it is that men value the internet for the breadth of experiences it offers, and women value it for the human connections," said Fallows.

Some highlights from the new report show:

  • The percentage of women using the Internet (66%) lags slightly behind men (68%). Women under 30 (86%) and black women, however, outpace their male peers (80%).
  • Men are slightly more intense Internet users than women. Men log on more often, spend more time online, and are more likely to be broadband users.
  • In most categories of Internet activity, more men than women are participants, but women are catching up.
  • Women are enthusiastic online communicators, and they use email in a more robust way. Women include a wider range of topics and activities in their personal emails, while men use email more than women to communicate with various kinds of organizations.
  • Men and women are equally likely to use the internet to buy products and take part in online banking, but men are more likely to use the internet to pay bills, participate in auctions, trade stocks and bonds, and pay for digital content.
  • Men are more avid consumers of online information, looking for information on a wider variety of topics and issues than women do.
  • Men are more likely than women to use the Internet as a destination for recreation.

Men and women also value the Internet as a gateway to limitless vaults of information. Men reach farther and wider for topics, from getting financial information to political news.

Women are more likely to see the vast array of online information as a “glut” and to penetrate deeper into areas where they have the greatest interest, including health and religion. Women tend to treat information gathering online as a more textured and interactive process.

The full Pew Internet Project report is available here.

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