The latest figures from Ofcom show that as many women use the Internet as men in Britain. In the States women are now just ahead at 52%. This has been driven partly by a explosion in the use of social networking sites such as Facebook. This is largely a London-driven phenomenon of 2007 that might slacken next year. But I doubt it will dent the trend towards women going online.
Interestingly, the UK leads the way in other trends such as the take-up of mobile phones and digital TV. We also seem to love our radio more than most of the world, which suggests that where ‘Old Media’ is done well and where it fits in to our busy multi-platform lives, it can still thrive.
The increase in female online activity is no surprise. Although football and porn were once seen as drivers of Internet use, this has long been supplanted by shopping and chat. Forgive my gender stereotyping, but I am told that women do like both of those. And who knows, perhaps they like the sex and soccer, too.
As for journalism, I think this confirms the thesis of the feminisation of news. All those lifestyle supplements, health stories and personality-driven editorial is partly because of the way that the old macho approach has changed in the face of social evolution. And by that I mean for men, too.
Journalism is now an industry with a predominantly female intake and most newsrooms have women in the majority. Journalism colleges are now surprised when men apply. So with both news and women going online, expect that trend to continue.