The gender stereotype is that women are the social butterflies and that men hole up in their caves and act in an anti-social manner. Based on that, you would expect women would be better at using social networking to expand their career opportunities. A study by LinkedIn shows the opposite results. According to the study, men are the dominant force in the overall networking category, although it was a surprise to see women dominating some fields such as the ranching and tobacco industries.
The results indicate that while women may be more active on casual social networking sites like Facebook, men are harnessing the technology to advance their careers. To them, sites like LinkedIn are another tool in their arsenal and not simply a way to stay connected with their friends.
Even more interesting is the data mining that is possible on social networking sites, in some cases extrapolating data that hasn’t even been provided by the end user. Although LinkedIn does not ask for your gender, they can “guess a person’s gender using their first name and some previously established techniques using a database of baby names.” As we provide more and more data to companies, we improve research in various areas but lose the anonymity. We’ve seen mergers in almost every field, so what happens when a company such as Facebook acquires the data housed in LinkedIn?