Women's participation in social networks on the rise

NEW YORK: More than 85% of women online have a profile on a social network, a 48% increase compared to last year, according to a survey from SheSpeaks.

NEW YORK: More than 85% of women online have a profile on a social network, a 48% increase compared to last year, according to a survey from SheSpeaks. The second-annual survey polled members of the SheSpeaks community, who admittedly are "predisposed to be online," to see how their social networking use compared year-over-year, said Aliza Freud, founder and CEO of SheSpeaks, an operator of consumer influencer communities.

All age groups saw an increase in usage year over year, with 70% of women over the age of 50 reportedly using social media, up from 31% in 2008. Ninety-five percent of women under the age of 30 use social media, up from 86% in 2008.

"The over-50 population is just becoming more and more at-ease with using online tools," Freud said. She added that many of those consumers initially went onto social networks to stay close to their children, but their participation in the sites evolved.

Of the social networks, Facebook is still the most popular, with 95% of women on social networks using that site. MySpace usage dropped from 63% to 42%, while 38% of women using social networks are a part of Twitter. Classmates and LinkedIn round out the top five social networking sites, with 27% and 22% of women on them, respectively.

"Last year, we were seeing more and more consumers going online primarily for research and purchases," Freud said. "Now they are looking at social media to help them research and facilitate all different kinds of these exchanges. They are looking beyond just researching purchases online; they are looking to their online communities to help them and find out about products and services."

Women are also checking their social networking profiles and sites more often, with 55% reporting that they log on multiple times per day and 17% logging on once a day. In 2008, 53% reported logging on to social networking sites at least once a day.

"People are talking about their products all over the place and they are using social media to do that," Freud said. "What we're seeing is that the brands that are successful are the ones that are actually becoming part of the conversation."

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