Dr Ruth Page, from the Department of English at the University of Leicester, recently completed an extensive study of the use of social media, and she has concluded that women on social networking sites tend to disclose more about emotional topics than men do.
They also write about emotional topics in a more expressive way, using more emoticons, “kisses” and unconventional typography.
Young women appear to be driving what Dr. Page calls this “expressive language” trend.
“The study shows an increasing trend for using ‘expressive language’ in Facebook (for example, for emphasis or to project friendliness), which is being led by young women aged between 19 and 25 years,” she said. “Between 2008 and 2010, for example, the style used by young women was later picked up by other women, especially those over 40 years old, and by teenage boys; but not by men.”
As part of the study, Dr. Page also looked at how celebrities use social media. Twitter, she found, holds particular appeal for stars who want to use social networking to connect with fans –and an even larger global audience.
As social media become more engrained in our everyday lives, brands will have to learn to leverage online platforms for making these types of “emotional” connections, too. Consumers increasingly expect online dialogue with brands, and this study seems to confirm that social media networks are evolving into channels for this kind of communication, a new generation of storytelling using the written word.
“Although there is a lot of talk about how digital technologies will lead to the end of the book, social media shows us that storytelling remains a key way of how we make sense of each other,” Dr. Page concluded.