When it comes to 'twittering', men have the tendency to follow men, while women are more fussy about whom to follow on the microblogging website, reveals a Harvard study.
In one of the first extensive sociological studies of Twitter, Harvard Business School collected data from a random sample of the May 2009 activity of 300,000 Twitter users
AdvertisementThe researchers then compared the data to user patterns on social networks such as Facebook.
"Twitter has attracted tremendous attention from the media and celebrities, but there is much uncertainty about Twitter's purpose. Is Twitter a communications service for friends and groups, a means of expressing yourself freely, or simply a marketing tool?" the Christian Science Monitor quoted Bill Heil and Mikolaj Piskorski, two of the study's principles, as having written on the Harvard Business Publishing site.
The researchers have discovered that men are twice as likely to follow other men than women, and that men are 40 percent more likely to be followed by other men than women.
They have also observed that women are 25 percent more likely to follow men than women, indicating that both men and women prefer following men.
"These results are stunning. On a typical online social network, most of the activity is focused around women - men follow content produced by women they do and do not know, and women follow content produced by women they know," write the authors.
The researchers noticed a "follower split"- although women and men follow a similar amount of users, men have more followers.
In addition, men have a higher tendency to engage in reciprocal Twitter relationships with other men-"reciprocal" here defined as a situation where each user is following the other.
"This 'follower split' suggests that women are driven less by followers than men, or have more stringent thresholds for reciprocating relationships. This is intriguing, especially given that females hold a slight majority on Twitter: we found that men comprise 45 percent of Twitter users, while women represent 55 percent," argue the authors.
This could be owed to the possibility that women have more refined tastes than men, or some people are using Twitter a lot and others not at all.
At last, the study found that "the top 10 percent of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90 percent of tweets," said the authors.
However, the scenario is entirely different on Facebook, where time spent is spread more evenly among users.
The authors concluded that the data "implies that Twitter's resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network."
And it also implies that Twitter-more than Facebook-could be just a passing fad.