Men are from Mars, women are from Venus? Examining gender differences in self-presentation on social networking sites

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2012 Feb;15(2):91-8. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2011.0151. Epub 2011 Dec 1.


Psychological research on gender differences in self-presentation has already revealed that women place higher priority on creating a positive self-presentation, while men are less concerned about the image they present in face-to-face (ftf) communication. Nowadays, with the extensive use of new media, self-presentation is no longer so closely tied to ftf situations, but can also take place in the online world. Specifically, social networking sites (SNS), such as Facebook or MySpace, offer various features such as profile pictures, groups, and virtual bulletin boards with which users can create elaborated online representations of themselves. What remains open is whether this virtual self-presentation on SNS is subject to gender differences. Based on studies emphasizing gender-related differences in Internet communication and behavior in general, it can be assumed that men and women have different motives regarding their SNS usage as well. A multimethodological study, combining results of an online survey and a content analysis of 106 user profiles, assessed users' diverse motives for participating in SNS in general, and their use of specific profile elements or self-presentation in particular. In this sample of StudiVZ users, women tend to be more likely to use SNS for comparing themselves with others and for searching for information. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to look at other people's profiles to find friends. Moreover, women tend to use group names for their self-presentation and prefer adding portrait photos to their profiles, while men choose full-body shots.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Media*
  • Social Networking*
  • Social Perception
  • Young Adult