With sites like Digg, Reddit, and Slashdot all locked into the eighteen- to twenty-eight-year-old male demographic, it’s no wonder that these sites have had a hard time turning a profit. The cynical nature of this particular demographic is one the pushes skepticism to its limits and makes ad-clicks a pipedream.
In 2009, it should change. All of it. With a recent influx of women taking greater chunks of social media sites like Twitter, StumbleUpon, and YouTube, it’s inevitable that social news as the last bastion of testosterone dominance in the Web 2.0 world will watch women and their interests start to take center stage more often.
Skeptical? Here are five pieces of supporting information that, when combined, can only yield one conclusion.
1. Girls Are Smart
Women have known it forever. Men are starting to figure it out. Whether in the tech industry itself, marketing, sales, networking, or just about any other profession that requires the use of the computer and the Internet to get or send information, it is clear that women are starting to dominate the fields. Social media fits in with these roles in many ways—often better than other forms of Internet communication.
This article on GirlsInTech.net points women in marketing towards getting more involved with social media, including social news sites.
2. Girls Are Techies
Rather than spit out numbers or point to articles, this is simply, well, “duh.” If you’re in the tech industry, you’re well aware that women are not only getting in, but are often moving up faster than men. It’s nearly a 50/50 split in some of the major tech firms.
Tech is the cornerstone of many social news sites, especially the older ones. They have tech as their foundation and still draw many of their users from the industry despite the flood of general and political news that has dominated the front pages in recent months.
3. Girls Are Gaming
Sites like GameGirl.com are popping up everywhere. It’s becoming its own market, and gaming industry intelligence says it’s a demographic that can no longer be ignored. Don’t expect Barbie or fashion games either—it seems that girls enjoy blowing up mutants and stunned-opponent fatalities as much as boys.
A recent study shows that 50 percent of women play video games. What does this mean for social news sites? With games being one of the most popular categories on most of these sites, the appeal is definitely there already.
4. Girls Are Making Videos and Pictures
Social Media sites like Flickr and YouTube are quickly becoming more female-dominated. One of the best ways to gain exposure for creations placed on these sites is through social news sites.
Conversely, social news sites are becoming more about quality images and videos than ever before. The “news” still dominates the front pages, but the submissions that get the most votes are almost always videos and images. It makes sense that women will start to get more involved in that area.
5. Girls Are Executives
From Vice-Presidents to CEOs, more and more women are landing and succeeding at the top levels of major corporations. What does this have to do with social news sites?
Social news is becoming the centerpiece of “buzz” on the Internet. Their reach is growing and the need to utilize it has expanded to the corporate level. Executives in marketing, development, and operations at major corporations are taking notice. Female executives seem to have an inclination to stay on the cutting-edge, especially on the Internet, and social news sites will become their haven in many ways. In 2009, this trend will explode. If you want to be an executive, you’ll have to cut your teeth through viral interactions. Social news has become the key to these interactions and female executives and executives-to-be know this.
Pound for pound, 2009 will end up seeing a shift in the social news arena to be as gender-neutral as society itself. The days of nineteen-year-old boys controlling the front pages of these sites will be over. This isn’t exactly a bold prediction—the shift is already occurring—but it’s one that will nonetheless take many old-school users by surprise.