The biggest difference between personal blogging and the rest of the blogosphere is gender dynamics.
I’ll probably kick myself for letting the cat out of the bag, but the world of non-commercial, “personal” blogging is dominated by women. I’m going to try and explain why I think that is, but I’d be really interested to hear from you in the comments if you disagree with that statement.
Admit it, you read more women than men. Out of fifty blogs you read that focus on that blogger’s life, friends and family…how many are male? 5? 10?
I realize it’s tough to divide the world of bloggers up into nice little subsections. I realize that even bloggers who tend to focus on fashion or geeky content still have a dose of personal blogging happening. However, when I talk about personal blogging I’m talking about a blog that mostly covers a blogger’s life; their feelings and experiences which aren’t aimed at selling anything, taking an intellectual position in a certain field, or one particular aspect of their life (like their career).
What qualifies me to make a claim on the gender makeup of personal bloggers? Quite frankly, the only real evidence I can stand behind is my experience with 20 Something Bloggers, where I have the ability to pull the demographic data on our almost 8,000 bloggers. Our male to female ratio is about 1:9…in ten bloggers there is one male.
Beyond hard data on that sizable blogger sample, I can only point to the two biggest “blogger communities” that I’m aware of, MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog, both of which I have found to be incredibly hard to search and segment. The Personal Blogger Group over at BlogCatalog is the only real room of personal bloggers I can find, and not only are members un-sortable but it strikes as a pretty spammy environment.
So why are so many of our personal bloggers women? I came up with seven possible explanations:
- Emotions, we haz none. Of course we have emotions, but we tend to be a little less inclined to admit them. When you extrapolate that into a medium for broadcasting emotions publicly the stakes get higher, and women seem more inclined to participate.
- Guys Like Topics. Men tend to like specific topics like tech, sports, or the line of business they work in. You can see this offline, as men tend to engage in very topical conversations, while women seem more willing to discuss their personal lives and emotions.
- Guys Like Opinions. This is somewhat related to the male tendency to write topical content, but it seems as if the desire to stake an opinion on a matter of interest weighs more heavily on the males who do blog. Personal blogging doesn’t mean there isn’t room for opinion, but writing about your life and experiences is generally a bit more commentary than it is a debate.
- There Are Better Options. This is purely speculation, but having found a higher male presence in the communities around Tumblr and Twitter, it seems as if those mediums offer men the right level of exposure for their needs. Both are a bit lighter than the typical personal blog when it comes to writing.
- The Absence of Need. A lot of personal blogging has its foundation in a need for expression. You will often find a major event in the early posts of the personal blogs you read. Something sparked a need for community and feedback, which lead to blogging as opposed to an offline journal. Do men react to major events in this way? It would appear they don’t.
- The Boy’s Club Is Missing. Male bloggers can easily seek out Boy’s Clubs in topical area like tech or politics, but have a much harder time finding something similar in the personal space. Is this a chicken or the egg issue? It might be, but even among the males I read in personal blogging there doesn’t appear to be the same kind of camaraderie you might expect to see with men offline.
- Boys Don’t Write? If we posit for a second that young boys aren’t encouraged to keep diaries, can we extrapolate that we’re not adept at the type of writing you might consider personal blogging? I know it was an adjustment for me…is the learning curve steeper?
I’ve had this conversation with a lot of people offline, but I’m very interested in your thoughts. Do you see the gender numbers like I do? If you do, why do you think it exists?
Photo by Flipped Out