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Geek War: Women Overtaking Men as Early Adopters

/ Source: TechNewsDaily

It's a general perception that men are the early tech adopters and gadget gurus, but more and more women are starting to catch up with their male counterparts by embracing social media, social gaming, texting and overall smartphone use.

According to a recent comScore report, female smartphone users are edging out men in using location-based services like Facebook Places and foursquare. The gap is slim: about 50.8 percent of mobile phone users who use check-in services are women, compared with 49.2 percent of men.

Experts believe that the frequency in which women are starting to embrace technology is not all that surprising, considering social media sites and other platforms are more about building relationships and staying in touch with others.

"When computers were originally more like gadgets than social network resources and services, we saw a notable divide with males more likely to adopt and use them," Scott Campbell said. 'But as computers, the Internet, mobile devices and now apps have become more ingrained into everyday social life, those differences between men and women have progressively diminished and even in some cases reversed."

Not only are women accessing sites such as Facebook Places and foursquare more, girls are also text messaging more than boys: "It reflects how today's new media are becoming increasingly integrated into the rhythm of everyday social life for both males and females," Campbell said.

Erik Qualman, author of the best-selling book "Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business" (Wiley Publishing, 2009), believes that more women are flocking to social media sites — and then to other forms of tech — because these platforms circulate around the notion of being social and staying connected with friends and family.

"As social media is less about technology and more about relationship building, we are starting to see more women have a heavy influence — if not dominant role — in the social media space," Qualman told

"It's no wonder that Facebook is being run in part by chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg," Qualman added.

The future and social gaming

Although Facebook was founded and created by Mark Zuckerberg, Sandra Calvert, a professor and director of the Children's Digital Media Center at Georgetown University, believes female adoption of the site could generate more female computer programmers and tech-minded thinker s in the future.

"Facebook may have been created by a man, but it will be interesting to see if more women start to create social media in the future beyond just using it," Calvert said.

Calvert said that the way boys and girls socialize is relatively inherent and goes as far back as early childhood.

"In line with gender stereotypes, young girls tend to spend more time chatting and doing verbal things, while boys spend more time playing games, from video games to hide and seek," Calvert said. "Overall, girls like face-to-face interaction and boys like side-by-side activities."

But thanks to the growth of social-based games, which can be played on sites such as Facebook or entertainment destination sites such as MocoSpace, more women are becoming interested in social gaming.

In fact, MocoSpace — which boasts games such as Street Wars, Happy Farm and Blackjack Party — saw nearly equal traffic from men and women in recent months. Although 53 percent of the site's social gamers are male, 47 percent are female.

Male gamers also spend more time playing, but not by much. Male gamers spend an average of 21 minutes a day playing MocoSpace's browser-based social games, while female gamers spend 19 minutes a day.

"Girls are growing up with sites such as Facebook and spending hours on smartphones talking to friends and even playing games — this is a part of the way they interact now and it's only expected to grow," Calvert said.

Reach TechNewsDaily senior writer Samantha Murphy at Follow her on Twitter @SamMurphy_TMN