Before we can truly understand Gender Relations affect in Social Media we have to define the term. Gender relations consist of both female and male attitude and roles and how they correlate together. Based off of statistics in the Carstensen readings, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 definitely have many distinctive differences, but more importantly the huge role that women play in Web 2.0 is one of the most vital differences between the two. Looking back into the 90’s men were the “primary” internet users and women were not. But today we see a clear shift where women use the web and social media at a significantly higher rate than men do. Because of this women have influenced the way Web 2.0 viewed.
Men, by contrast, generally use social media to gather the information they need to build influence, as this Forbes article shows. Men tend to amass useful contacts and perform research via social networks to help increase their status. Women, on the other hand, seem more interested in using social media to “make connections.” Sounds cliché , doesn’t it? And almost a little gender-biased, I dare say. Well, regardless of how you or I may feel about traditional gender roles, the studies seem to say that when it comes to women and social media…it be what it be. But from a marketing perspective, generalizations of women as gossipy or emotional seem to be working to our advantage: Women appear to be better at using social media for business and marketing purposes.
Switching gears Just as Gender Relations constantly change so does social media. Social Platforms such as Instagram, Tumblir, Twitter, and Facebook manipulate how these gender relations are viewed and utilized in various ways. For an example when you create a new profile on facebook you are asked to identify your gender. It is ultimately your choice to identify with male or female but whether we like it or not our gender plays a huge role in both our identity and how people choose to perceive us. You may ask yourself well what it matters if I am male or female? This is a very useful question to pose. Some would say it’s just customary procedure, after all social media platforms ask for your birthday, phone number, age, home address, and email address. I personal feel that it is human nature and being that our gender is a part of our identities which enables us to connect on different levels with different users.
This brings me to point on how gender relations play out when a male may identify with being a woman and a woman may identify with being a man. The roles are clearly switched which effects on how users perceive people that identify with the sex that they might not be. Some people would assume that if they were to see a picture of a male on facebook that may dress like a female for instance and identifies with being a woman that he was homosexual. They may go on to say that he is emulating the role of a female. However, others may say that he is acting within gender relations. Who determines those boundaries and how are they defined. This video on Social Media and the End of Media does a great job of explaining this concept. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR4LdnFGzPk