WOMEN HAVE QUIETLY taken over the Internet. The new social networks which dominate the web are overwhelmingly manned (oops, sorry) by women and designed to foster female thought processes.
“The reason why you are so bad at Facebook is simple: you are a guy,” said a letter from reader Wendy Tong. “These systems are tailored for socializing and for swapping self-analysis pop quizzes, which are distinctly female skills. The Facebook company never trumpets this fact, but the truth is known in the web industry that two out of three Facebook users are women.”
I checked out the facts. It’s true. Expand the image below for the figures on Facebook usage by each sex. In some paces, Facebook is 75 per cent female.
This intriguing news was in one of several letters received from readers on the difference between male and female thinking, referring to an earlier column. Reader Rika Nauck was worried to learn that map reading skills were a sign of masculinity, it being one of her own talents. “But I must be female,” she added proudly. “I can’t count.”
The gulf between male and female thought processes is even wider if there’s a generation gap involved, said reader Mike Munson. “I remember driving with my mother,” he said. “I asked her where the store she wanted to go was. She told me to drive up the hill near the dogwood trees not in bloom, turn left past where the dry cleaners used to be five years ago, and then drive by my older brother's second grade teacher’s house on the left. I had no idea where to go.”
But going back to the subject of social web networks, men cannot judge how to use them appropriately. A reader named Jason wrote: “I just learnt today that my sister's husband was going to record on Twitter or Facebook every notable event about the birth of their son.” The guy was even sending out news alerts on his wife’s internal contractions, and proposed recording the entire birth on YouTube. But his wife’s “if looks could kill” response dissuaded him. Jason, please tell him there IS such a thing as “too much information”.
Meanwhile, the news that many Asian governments are limiting parents’ freedom to name their children prompted Dan Kubiske to send us a tip: get on a plane and give birth in the Dominican Republic. A campaign to limit parental naming rights was recently rejected by the courts there. Parents there have given their children innovative names, including Ghost, Stupid and Boil, plus brand names, including Mazda and Toshiba. Poor little mites. On the plus side, I guess the kid named Stupid doesn’t have much to live up to.
A reader named Hayat from Jakarta was interested in the comment in this column that people are often described as “disgruntled” but no one is ever said to be “gruntled”. He wrote: “And then of course there's that whole thing about being overwhelmed. You can be overwhelmed at something or you can be underwhelmed. But can you ever just be whelmed?”
I’m not sure about that, Hayat, but I do know one thing. It is only a matter of time before some guy puts up a Facebook page featuring a YouTube video recording the birth of his son, whom he will call Stupid Toshiba Ghost Boil.
I just hope he doesn’t expect the boy to be whelmed or his wife to be gruntled.