Get a demo Do I subscribe? News sign-up

Why don't girls blog?

Opinion, 23 November 2010

Technorati tells us that the female blogging population in Europe is about half the size of the male blogging population. Why? They don't give specific breakdowns by country or indeed subject matter, but my observations in the UK - particularly in the marketing communications world - is that women aren't much in evidence (Mumsnet and all the personal/makeup/sex/relationship blogs don't count).

What are the obvious reasons? Women don't talk as much as men? Women don't write as much as men? Women don't think as much as men? Women aren't employed in the 'thinking' jobs as much as men? None of these work.

In market research (where about 50% are women with equal numbers in senior jobs) write up a storm. Look at the papers from the MRS and you'll see just as many female authored papers as men, and lots of winners of awards are women. High status participation is pretty equally shared. Again, look at the IPA Effectiveness Awards where men and women are also about equal (although a few more of the big winners are men and men dominate judging panels).

How about who is employed where? The APG tells us that roughly 50% of planners are female and women comprise 30% of the membership of the Marketing Society – not quite equal but a sizable minority.

Deborah Tannen in her book ‘You just don’t understand me’ (a terrible title which suggests needy whining when, in fact, the book is quasi-academic and psychologically sophisticated) has one central insight that she illustrates by dozens of examples. This, in my view, comes closest to an explanation. Women talking to each other search for what she calls ‘intimacy’ - common threads, shared beliefs and experiences. Men talking to each other search for hierarchical positioning cues: is his taller, better looking, richer, bigger job, more successful with women, etc. Being seen in print is one of those cues.

Men and women even Twitter differently although for both sexes, the level of banality is about the same. I'm with Rod Liddle who believes that Twittering is for middle aged narcissists. (Except when you are reporting a revolution).

Anyway, what's so great about blogging? Give me a well argued, evidence based case any day rather than the wittering and blathering and opinionated rubbish that passes for most blogs. (sic)

About the author

Judie Lannon is a world-recognised expert in the field of market research and marketing strategy. She was appointed by J. Walter Thompson (JWT) London to establish their Consumer Research Department, then appointed to the Board of J Walter Thompson as its Director, Research and Planning. In l989, she became Research & Development Director for JWT Europe. She is extremely experienced in all aspects of consumer research and brand communications strategies through work with major international companies.

She established her own planning and research consultancy in l991, and in addition to this consultancy work, Judie designs senior management courses in the marketing communications, brand positioning and market research realms. She is particularly interested in the evolution of brands and the development of communications beyond advertising.

Judie Lannon is also a recognised writer, editor and speaker in the field of marketing. She serves as Editor of the Strategic Marketing Journal and Market Leader magazine (the Journal of the Marketing Society, Great Britain) and is Features Editor of the International Journal of Advertising.