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Gender Difference in Online Behavior?

While moderating a focus group session with pediatricians for the AAP Member Center project, a question came into my head: "Are men more likely to customize a page such as My Yahoo, than women?"

My hunch was, yes, since men are more task oriented... but I could not generalize on that alone.

I did some research on the internet, and there really isn't a study of that behavior exactly, but by then I found my question had expanded to ask, "what are the differences in online behavior between men and women"? Pew had the answer in the form of a report that was published 12/28/2006, authored by Deborah Fallows, aptly entitled How Women and Men Use the Internet. The main conclusion of the report:

Women are catching up to men in most measures of online life. Men like the internet for the experiences it offers, while women like it for the human connections it promotes.

To answer my original question, I went back to the survey of AAP pediatricians we did. I found that, yes, men are more likely to want to customize, but the difference is not significant. Plus the sample we have isn't really big enough.

  • 21% of male respondents said they want customization (15)
  • 13% of female respondent said they want customization (10)