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Study with regard to male and female behaviour in the social network studiVZ

Altogether ten students of "Media Studies" Film & Television Academy (HFF) "Konrad Wolf" Potsdam-Babelsberg in Germany and their leader Dr. Elisabeth Prommer performed a study about the topic: "Real life extension" in Web-based social networks: The gendered construction of self among student. Their thesis was that the use of web-based social networks is an instrument of constructing new self-identities and not only a way to built up close relation-ships. For the research the group of students used results of online-interviews they sent to other students of the German city Potsdam. Responses came from 1.210 young students and 1021 of them were registered by studiVZ.

The response can be divided into answers of men and women: 72 percent of women took part but only 28 percent of the answers were given by the male counterparts. Furthermore 82 percent of all respondents were between 18 and 26 years old and nearly half of them use studiVZ frequently and are logged in up to 60 minutes on average. Often the use of studiVZ is an addition to text-messages or E-Mail. Also other results of the study are interesting, because women and men answered differently in cases of patterns and motives of using studiVZ. The main fact is that 81 percent of the women are registered because friends are registered as well and on the other hand 25 percent of men are registered because they want to meet new people. While 10 percent of men use studiVZ to get in touch with new people 81 percent of the women use studyVZ first of all for communication.

Other aspects of the difference of male and female patterns and motives are the forms of contact. 93 percent of the women did not make new friends within studiVZ and 13 percent of the men were able to build up new friendships. Also 45 percent of the men are curious about the profiles of strangers but only 22 percent of the women looked at new profiles. It is amazing that 93 percent say that their profiles are true but only 80 percent of the men agree with this answer. While women have the intention to bring out their best parts and want to stay authentic, men often hide their identities and they are more interested in having attention. The researchers of the study found out mainly conclusions with regard to behaviour and self-presentation. For users it is important to have a good image on that platform that means an authentic and positive impression. Beside this the users of social networks are aware of the possibility to construct an identity. Therefore the researchers say: "Different gender motives for use the social network lead to different self representation styles".

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Available on the website since February 20, 2009