Ladies First: Analyzing Gender Roles and Behaviors in Pinterest

Abstract

Online social networks (OSNs) have become popular platforms for people to connect and interact with each other. Among those networks, Pinterest has recently become noteworthy for its growth and promotion of visual over textual content. The purpose of this study is to analyze this image-based network in a gender-sensitive fashion, in order to understand (i) user motivation and usage pattern in the network , (ii) how communications and social interactions happen and (iii) how users describe themselves to others. This work is based on more than 220 million items generated by 683,273 users. We were able to find significant differences w.r.t. all mentioned aspects. We observed that, although the network does not encourage direct social communication, females make more use of lightweight interactions than males. Moreover, females invest more effort in reciprocating social links, are more active and generalist in content generation, and describe themselves using words of affection and positive emotions. Males, on the other hand, are more likely to be specialists and tend to describe themselves in an assertive way. We also observed that each gender has different interests in the network, females tend to make more use of the network's commercial capabilities, while males are more prone to the role of curators of items that reflect their personal taste. It is important to understand gender differences in online social networks, so one can design services and applications that leverage human social interactions and provide more targeted and relevant user experiences.

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14 Figures and Tables

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