A short time ago, Jessica Faye Carter – an award-winning author and columnist – wrote a piece for Mashable.com that outlined “how social media presents women with increased opportunities for influence and professional development.” The feedback she received from readers (men and women), however, was heavily weighted with opinions that depicted women’s interest in social media as superficial “girl talk” or summed it up as a natural ability as “connectors.” Today, Carter presents a more in-depth examination to support her theory as to why social media presents women with a platform for professional gain and cultural influence.
Let’s start with the boldest reality: Of the 87 million women active on the Internet, an estimated 67.5 million women are engaged with social media, Carter explained. In fact, she claims that such an outstanding measurement clearly demonstrates that there’s a bit more to the story than the simple enjoyment of social interaction.
Sociolinguists denote women as innovators in communication, especially in regard to new forms of languages. Therefore, Carter began her research at the foundation of this principle and uncovered an impressive timeline of women’s innovative movements and cultural influence throughout previous centuries. Below are highlights of her findings.
• In 15th century England, women were responsible for the switch from ye to you
• Common phrases such as Like and Oh my God (known as Valley Girl uptalk) were started by young women in California
• During the mid-20th century a group of young women from Oberwart, Austria (a society that had resisted the influence of German language for almost 400 years) shifted the primary language of a bilingual community from Hungarian to German
Today, women continue to thrive with linguistic innovation, Carter explained, flocking toward social media – a hybrid of written and spoken language – to cultivate their ideals.
“Social media represents an identity that is modern, connected and a little bit daring. It’s an identity that’s understood to be comfortable with a certain amount of transparency, promotes information and has a global outlook as technology crosses geographic boundaries. It is participative in nature and this opportunity to add new layers to their identities is part of what makes social media so attractive to women,” Carter explained.
Another, more practical, reason social media projects a tantalizing platform to women is the variety of benefits and improvements it provides to a woman’s quality of life . Social networks grant women the resources to easily and efficiently manage numerous aspects of their day-to-day routines.
In the grander sense, social media – like alterations to a language – is a symbol of social change and these interactive networks provide increased access to both information and platforms to express thoughts and ideas.
“Women stand to benefit from this type of social change more than men because women generally have less access to influential networks and leadership roles in society than men do. We sometimes forget that despite considerable progress, women continue to confront numerous inequities and considerable marginalization from influence in our society. It is precisely these challenges that fuel women’s greater interest in social media and social change,” Carter said.
In summary, it’s vital that, as a society, we recognize women as equals and disregard any stereotypes, especially about their strengths or intentions as a people. These misconstrued notions only hinder our society’s ability to comprehend the reality of women’s interest in emerging technologies as a piece of their identity. Therefore, by acknowledging the truth about women’s engagement with social media, businesses are able to effectively market their brand to women online.