LinkedIn doesn’t record age and gender information in their profiles, and if they’ve ever done a demographic survey that included it, they’ve been tight-lipped about publishing that information. But some new social networking user statistics from reputation service Rapleaf revealed some rather startling results.
It seems that LinkedIn is roughly 60% male, 40% female, while the other sites, including Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Plaxo and Hi5, are the reverse — approximately 60% female, 40% male.
Now it’s tempting to think that perhaps this means that LinkedIn’s task-oriented, left-brain approach is more appealing to men than women, but let’s not jump to conclusions. Is it really a difference in networking styles, or simply a reflection of the target market. Keep in mind that while the other sites target a broad audience, LinkedIn is targeted at business professionals — generally middle managers and above, as well as entrepreneurs.
I know that statistics can vary greatly. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that only 35% of businesses are owned by women (spreadsheet), while the Center for Women’s Business Research claims that it’s 50%. And there are stay-at-home moms. The 2000 U.S. Census reported that 61% of women were working or looking for work, compared with 74% of men.
Point is — the difference could simply be attributable to the natural demographic difference in target audience, rather than differences in networking styles.
But there’s one area where that’s certainly not the case.
If you look at the people with the top 50 connection counts at TopLinked.com, I count that 48 out of 50 are male (most are obvious from the name — those that weren’t, I read their recommendations and looked for the use of "he" or "she").
It seems the practice of "mega-connecting" or "link collecting" is an almost exclusively male phenomenon. Men seem to be motivated by that competitive metric while women aren’t.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions about that.