AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Debunking the geek myth



The prototypical computer whiz of popular imagination — pasty, geeky, male — has failed to live up to his reputation. Research shows that among the primary creators of Web content (blogs, graphics, photographs, web sites) are not your typical geek stereotype, but actually, teenage girls.

A study published in December by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that among Web users ages 12 to 17, significantly more girls than boys blog (35 percent of girls compared with 20 percent of boys) and create or work on their own Web pages (32 percent of girls compared with 22 percent of boys). Girls also eclipse boys when it comes to building or working on Web sites for other people and creating profiles on social networking sites (70 percent of girls 15 to 17 have one, versus 57 percent of boys 15 to 17).

Video posting was the sole area in which boys outdid girls: boys are almost twice as likely as girls to post video files. This is not because girls are not proficient users of the technology, Professor Palfrey said. He suggested, rather, that videos are often less about personal expression and more about impressing others. It’s an ideal way for members of a subculture — skateboarders, snowboarders — to demonstrate their athleticism, he said.

[via NYT]

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4 Comments

  1. Only, that the girls’ content doesn’t get much attention. i.e., it is said about 50-60 % of German bloggers are women. But looking at the top 100 blogcharts, you wont find 10 female bloggers among the most linked German bloggers. Worldwide it may be a bit more, but female bloggers are rarely at the top, though they make up for most of the long tail.

    I’ve just taken a look at my feed reader: 80 blogs, 17 of them by women. Looking at the categories I’m using, the image becomes clearer: No / few blogs by women about politics, web stuff, news. Nearly all the women blogs in my reader are in the “personal” categories.

    Although this is not representative I think, that’s why women may produce most of the web 2.0 content, but don’t get as much attention as men: They write more personal, their blogs more often tell about their personal life. That’s ok for a small group of readers, but nothing for the masses.

  2. That’s interesting. I’d say it depends how you define geek.

    To me, it’s not about how much time they spend on a computer, but what they use it for.

    The person you described would be a social networker – they blog, they go on forums, they post photos, they use messenger.

    A geek would be someone into their computer for all its technical glory.

    The first person is using the net to enhance their social life. The second person is using it to isolate themself from their social life.

    I’m not surprised there are more female social networkers. But I bet you there are more men in the second category.

  3. I think Simon hit the sweet spot, it’s hard to interpret the figures lumping all blog types together, but then again its not always easy to categorise blogs for a survey!

  4. hani obaid: “its not always easy to categorise blogs for a survey!”

    You’re right.Categorizing blogs isn’t easy at all. As I’ve discovered, it’s even more difficult in the Near / Middle Eastern blogosphere (or at least the English language part of it). Most German blogs I’m reading have a certain topic – they either cover inner politics, the author’s job or his private life.
    Of the Arabic blogs I read, rarely one has a definite topic. You will always find a personal story between political coverage, some funny pics followed by a serious book review. That’s why I have a special “Arabic” section – it’s definitely impossible to categorize these blogs.

    I don’t know why the Arabic blogosphere is that different from Western ones, but I think it’s not so much the cultural influence. As far as I see, it comes from the fact that blogging has not that much of a history in the Near / Middle East and that there are relatively few bloggers from the region. But I haven’t studied it… does any one have a more underpinned explanation?

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