Sex and Status: Twitter and Facebook

For the past six months, I’ve been thinking about sex. Not the sweaty kind, you perv — wink wink, nudge nudge — but about perspective differences between sexes and what that means to the Web at large. I am drawn to the differences to identify new business opportunities instead of trying to save the world or make it a better place or anything but I’ll take the bonus points if it’s on the way.

Fred Wilson asked rhetorically Hasn’t It Always Been About Status? in his post about Facebook opening up their status update API more. My answer from the sex-difference perspective is: Yes, for guys, not as much for girls.

I think status updates offer two things:

  • Awareness
  • Presence


Back when we had more hair than brain, awareness had direct impact on survival, resulting in the need to be aware carved into our veins. As civilizations advanced, focus of awareness expanded from elements and beasts to include awareness of what others are doing, moving from dodging predators and bashing skulls to keeping an eye on strangers and smelling whiffs of wars in distand lands.

The twin brother of Need is Fear. Even while drowning in constant avalanche of information, modern man fears not knowing enough soon enough.


Whether it’s simply brushing shoulders or social status, men feel the need to be acknowledged and, if given a chance, respected. I don’t think it’s pride but more to do with the dog brain part of us, wolfpack mindset.

My current thinking is that men’s need for awareness and presence are far greater than women. For women, I think things like order and intimacy are more important which could mean that:

  • Twitter is more useful to men than women.
  • Facebook has more general appeal.

Right or wrong, I use this kinds of thoughts like I would a bottle-opener and would like the readers to do the same.

2 thoughts on “Sex and Status: Twitter and Facebook

  1. Interesting distinction, Don. Reminds me somewhat of the Google/Yahoo! dichotomy and the fact that some have said that’s gendered too …

    I’d agree: I consider FB status messages more intimate than Tweets. One big reason is that FB has very different defaults concerning privacy. And, yes, Twitter is very much a medium of self-promotion, whether your audience is 10 friends or 10,000 strangers. Not much different than a blog in that sense.

    Though for some crazy reason I think I have more Twitter followers than people who sub to my RSS feed, and I’ve only ever tweeted once. Not sure what _that_ means.

  2. @fhwang, I just followed you on twitter so you’ll tweet more often. 🙂

    I think most Twitter users are still in ‘explorer’ mode, more willing to try new sources, where most avid RSS users are now in ‘gardener’ mode where subscription is a question of time budget and interest.

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