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Men and women 'use Facebook differently'

Whether you're male or female would determine which Facebook applications you find cool, for a new study has revealed that the sexes use the popular social networking site differently. While women prefer applications which they can express themselves through, men choose ones they can compete against others with.

world Updated: Jun 22, 2009 11:20 IST

Whether you're male or female would determine which Facebook applications you find cool, for a new study has revealed that the sexes use the popular social networking site differently.

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have found that while women prefer applications which they can express themselves through, men choose ones they can compete against others with.

In fact, they have based their findings on an analysis of the value of applications, such as 'Scrabble', 'Mousehunt' and 'Superpoke', which allow people to interact with social networking sites and other users.

Lead researcher Rebekah Russell-Bennett said when it came to uncovering what made social networking applications successful, it seemed women wanted to express themselves, while men enjoyed the thrill of social competition.

"Facebook users want to possess and share cool applications that enhance their standing within their network of friends. For women this is about self-expression, for men it is about who the best.

"The study found value is measured for women according to the ability of the application to facilitate self-expression of interests, values or personality, and for men according to the ability to facilitate competition and comparison. Both want novelty and rarity," she said.

According to the researchers, applications were also considered cool when they allowed self-categorisation such as discovering which movie star you are, applications which change daily or regularly, applications which allow high levels of interactivity such as scrabble or bowling, and applications which were exclusive and rare.

The study was important because from a commercial view, organisations were struggling to understand how to develop a cool application and identify the features that would encourage people to recommend cool applications to friends, the researchers said.

"Popular applications can attract tens of millions of views and uses per month, and given that applications are relatively cheap to develop and are distributed virtually cost-free, this makes them an attractive substitute to traditional advertising," Russell-Bennett said.