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Women Media-ing It Up

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August is not the only space dominated by woman. Internationally, experts concur that social media and its expansion is driven by women. In fact, had social media been around in 1956, the August 9 nation-wide women’s march against the apartheid passbook laws would most probably have been organized and gained momentum from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

According to Hootsuite, more women use social media than men in North America, and with online dominance comes influence. In the ‘Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers’ list published by Forbes in the second quarter of 2013,

@AnnTran tops the list with 100,000 tweets. She blogs and tweets about travel and leisure, providing advice to her 326,000 plus Twitter followers.

It’s this strong social media dominance that gives women power to influence online opinion and also sees them driving online shopping.

As women tend to be the more social than men, they naturally gravitate towards platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which allows for engagement that could lead to business.

Pinterest—a social media platform that baffles most male minds—is dominated by female users, who make up over 90%. They pin anything from holiday plans, party ideas, wedding inspirations to the latest fashion accessories and even plan their events on this archive of virtual pinboards.

Mommy Blogs have become quite the online phenomenon, with 14% of American mom’s blogging according to US tax preparation company H&R Block. Mothers-to-be, who are on maternity leave, or stay-at-home mothers have taken to the likes of Blogger and WordPress to share their experiences, tips and insights into being a mother. According to

Babble.com, Rebecca Wolf—a mother of four whose blog is called ‘Girls Gone Child’—tops the list of roughly 500 Mommy Blogs that have considerable power and reach.

As in the offline life, all is not roses and puppies. Because of their widespread online presence, women also suffer from the darker side of social media. It consists of girlfriend-spa-trip-envy, Twitter update jealousy and Instagram vanity. Age-old social pressures—now distributed across global social media platforms—may send some female users into a spiral of envy and depression, after they see a friends’ relationship status change to ‘engaged’ or ‘married’ while they are single; after looking at gym-carved bodies or becoming victims of spiteful Facebook postings.

Author Julie Spira coined the term Social Media Anxiety Disorder (SMAD). This unofficial, non-medical condition describes those who feel aggravated after not receiving an immediate Twitter @reply. They may become depressed each time someone unfollows or unfriends them. And may continuously refresh their social media tabs awaiting an update. They cannot live without their smartphones and surprisingly become annoyed when others text or check their social media updates during meetings or social gatherings.

Where does this leave men? Where the online world has always kept them: entertained for hours in front of YouTube, watching sports re-runs and funny commercials.

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