The Feminisation of the Social Network
Whether it’s a business-focused power lunch, a mummy-and-baby play group, or girl talk over a couple of chai lattes, women who get together love to talk. Yet a growing number of studies show that, in the digital age, women also love to post, ‘like’, comment and tweet. Yes, it’s true – women are the new face of the social network mainstream.
According to a 2011 Pew Research Center report, significantly more women hold social network memberships and, out of social network members of both sexes, women visit and use the sites more frequently. On Facebook specifically, according the site’s own stats, women are more involved in content creation; in general, they have more friends, play more games, make more posts and add more photos.
It’s because of their apparent inclination to share that women are being characterised as the new ‘power users’ of online social networks. It’s not surprising then that over the past few years, clued-in website start-ups are beginning to hone in on the female fascination with online communities. The internet now offers a multitude of free-membership, women-only social networking websites. If you’re a woman who likes to be connected, then check out these top picks.
The Network for Women in Thailand
Let’s start off with a site that has some regional flair. Learning the ins and outs of life in Thailand can certainly be a challenge. While advice from your circle of friends can sometimes suffice, there is something to be said about the benefits of extending your support network to thousands of women across the country. That’s where Chicky Net comes in. Chicky Net (www.chickynet.com) is a social network for women in Thailand with sub-networks for Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hua Hin and Bangkok. Membership allows women to solicit advice on forums, find killer deals in the classified ads, and laugh out loud at (or sympathise with) other women’s experiences on the blogs. Events in Chiang Mai include a monthly Book/DVD exchange and dinner.
The Network for Women in the Biz
Around the world, plenty of women have been breaking through the glass ceiling of the business sector to achieve professional success. Learn their tricks, hear about other women’s entrepreneurial experiences, and get your own brand noticed on Connected Women (www.connected-women.com), a network of professional women from over 70 countries. The site offers an extensive directory of women business leaders, business-minded news, pre- and post-conference networking for business conferences around the world and forums full of expert advice organised by industry. Online seminars on critical skills and issues for today’s business leader are available for very reasonable prices. With thousands of women visiting the site each month, Connected Women’s efforts to build a supportive network for corporate ladies has become very good business.
The Network for Women who Blog
If you are a woman blogger, or even just a woman who reads blogs, you need to be on BlogHer (www.blogher.com). With over 37 million unique visitors per month, this site has become the powerhouse of female-driven social media. Entries into the site’s 33,000-strong blog directory are categorised into topical pages on issues such as environment, lifestyle, news, family, books, money, sports and career. Members can start their own blogs, join groups, receive a newsletter and comment on each other’s writing. The extent of interaction available is deliberate: BlogHer’s vision is to create an inclusive environment for female blog writers and readers so that everyone can join in on the conversation.
The Network for Health-Conscious Women
For women interested in health (and shouldn’t we all be?), EmpowHER (www.empowher.com) is a great online resource for female-focused health content offered up in a fun, accessible way. Customise your experience of the site by signing up for the online community, where forums, special interest groups, ‘ask an expert’, members’ health stories and live, topical chat features are available. EmpowHer provides dependable health guidance and a safe space for your most embarrassing health questions. Most importantly, for those women living with chronic ailments, the site can offer a critical element of wellness – the chance to connect with (and find support from) others struggling with similar medical issues.
The Network for Worldly Women
You’ll feel inspired just looking at the World Pulse homepage (www.worldpulse.com). The lively, colourful site is an interactive multimedia platform for female activists across the globe. The site, which is accessed by women from over 185 countries, aims to increase woman’s empowerment and voice in the international media. This extensive site offers resources for the public including an online magazine (authored and edited by women), action alerts and a resource exchange with jobs, training materials and information on funding sources. It also has a members-only network called PulseWire which connects socially-engaged women around the globe to share, discuss and make the news. The site’s tag line is “nobody speaks for me, I speak for myself.” Through this platform, women’s voices can be heard the world over.