LinkedIn Study: Men Are Better at Social Networking than Women

Last Updated Jun 23, 2011 4:16 PM EDT

I've been upfront about the fact that I'm a little less LinkedIn than I should be. And apparently, I have plenty of company. According to a new study by the career networking site, there are more men than women on LinkedIn, and the women that are on there have fewer connections then their male counterparts.

Interestingly enough, prior statistics show that women seem to be more active on Twitter than men. But in terms of professional networking, guys seem to be making smarter strides than gals.

I spoke to Nicole Williams, career expert and author of Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success, who helped LinkedIn analyze the results. Here's what she had to say:

Why do you think women aren't as active as men on LinkedIn? While women are great communicators, men are more actively engaged in reaching out. Women also make few but deeper connections. We're also finding that men are more comfortable with technology, and women may be better at networking in person. But this isn't Facebook -- you can make that first move without being perceived as needy.

The study found that women were savvier online networkers in male-dominated industries like tobacco and ranching, while men were more active if they were in...cosmetics? Seems surprising! Yes. I think in those industries where you may be at a disadvantage by virtue of your gender, you use any and all tools at your disposal to get ahead.

So what should women focus on? Women have to be more proactive in putting themselves out there and asking for what they want from connections. They also have to get more comfortable documenting what they've done without worrying about bragging.

How much do you think gender roles have to do with how women and men network online? Do you believe that women are hesitant to "make the first move"? Please share in the comments below.
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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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