Should Social Media rankings be gender specific?

Posted on October 13, 2008. Filed under: Observations, Social Media | Tags: , , , , |

I was intrigued to read Ron Hudson’s post this morning that he had conducted a poll of the 50 Most Powerful & Influential women in Social Media. He states that the premise was to have people nominate women in Social Media.  Now from a Marketing perspective I can see this being a good exercise.  After all, Web 2.0 is about conversations, not interuptions, one of the most recognized ways to start those conversations is with “influencers”.  So if I were specifically seeking to market to women, then perhaps knowing who the “influencers” are would help.  Or perhaps not, because what we don’t know is the gender of those who took part in the poll.  Ron conducted the poll through Twitter, I would hazard a guess that some percentage of the respondents were men.  So much for the marketing idea then. 

So my question is, given that this is the 21st Century and the topic is Social Media is ranking influencers by gender really relevant ? The people that influence me most online are both male and female.  I am not influenced by their gender but by their ability to comment, observe, and help me make sense of the online (and in some cases the offline) world.

When it comes to networking, the assumption has always been that women are better equipped to build and maintain networks.  They are, after all, natural nurturers.  So the extension of that is Social Networking as part of Social Media would be driven and led by women.  Is that the case? 

Think about which blog writers you follow, which twitter users you follow.  If I were to list my top 5 there is a mix of male and female.  Chris Brogan ( , @chrisbrogan), Tawny Press ( , @tawnypress), Ann Hadley ( , @marketingprofs), Robert Scoble ( , @scobleizer), Jeremiah Owyang ( , @jowyang).  That list of course can change on a daily basis, though those particular individuals are always in the top 5 in some order.

I am not decrying any of the individuals on the list, nor Ron’s effort in putting the list together.  All of the people on the list deserve to be recognized as powerful and influential in the realms of Social Media. I got some great new people to follow both as a reader and as a twitter user from the list.  Its the gender part I am still not getting past.  Now that could of course be a cultural thing, we don’t have pageants in the UK anymore, so maybe its that in the US its still the norm to rank people by gender.  The Academy Awards do it, so why not Social Media. Except that, isn’t social media meant to be on the edge?  Changing perceptions of how we do business? Enabling a new dynamic in the conversation about how we trade with each other?  If thats the case then my original question stands, Should Social Media Rankings be Gender Specific?

What are your thoughts?

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