"Men want facts, women seek relations on Web"

Study of Internet use shows gender difference in surfing styles.

By Lynn Harris

Published December 29, 2005 8:45PM (EST)

A Broadsheet reader points us to this Reuters article entitled "Men want facts, women seek relations on Web." From the description of this study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, it appears that by "relations" they mean "gossip," and by "facts" they mean "porn."

I kid, mostly. "Men tend to be attracted to online activities that are far more action-oriented, while women tend to value things involving relationships or human connections," said the reports author. According to the article, "A larger number of men surf the Internet for pleasure, with 70 percent acknowledging they go online to pass time, compared with 63 percent of women. Men are more likely than women to listen to music, view Webcams and pay for digital content."

Women, however, are "heavier users of e-mail, often going beyond the matter-of-fact responses of male correspondents to use e-mail to share stories, solve issues and reach out to a wider network of friends and family."

Men: bigger fans of chat rooms, internet auctions, online stock trading. Oh, and porn.

Women: more likely to seek health and religious info online.

I guess you cant argue with the numbers, but boy does this sound like "Men Click on Mars, Women Click on Venus."

But here's a nice tidbit: The report "finds some of the gender differences to be generational. Girls and young women are more facile with technology-intensive activities than older generations of women appear to be." It is nice to be reassured that -- after our moms got the message that machines were for men -- we could be raising a generation of Willow Rosenbergs. "Teenage girls may do more or less than boys of certain activities, like downloading," states the report, "but the important message is that the technology is not standing in their way."

Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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