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twitter’s glass ceiling for women

Twitter Glass Ceiling Image

This diagram compares Twitter users with male and female profiles. Female users are baseline. IRR means “incidence rate ratio.” The quartiles refer to quartiles of users – Q1 Twitter users have very few followers and Q4 users have many followers.. See the paper for study details.

I have a new paper that will be presented at the 10th International Conference on Web and Social Media. This paper, written by Shirin Nilizadeh, Anne Groggel, Peter Lista, Srijita Das, YY Ahn, Apu Kapadia, and myself, documents an important phenomena on social media: there seems to be a “glass ceiling” that penalizes women who strive to be visible on social media.

We took a random sample of 100,000 Twitter users and asked – what is the difference in visibility between those who appear to be male and female in their profile?* Answer, not much – except among those users who have a lot of followers. The nearly identical level of visibility suddenly shifts and those with male profiles have more followers and the difference is significant. Similar results are found using other measures of visibility like retweets and the results hold accounting for user behavior, off line visibility, and other factors.

* There is the subtle point of users who do not present a gender. The paper deals with that. Read it for details.

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Written by fabiorojas

March 30, 2016 at 12:01 am

2 Responses

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  1. Interesting.

    My anecdotal experience is that bots often present as female. I see that you do some simple bot removal.

    It would be interesting to see the sensitivity of the results to alternative (including more aggressive) bot removal.

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  2. Given the huge numbers, I would not expect a huge change in the results since most of the action is on top quartile. It might decrease followers for female profiles for the lower quartiles. Lots of not followed bots there I would expect lots of bots.

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    fabiorojas

    March 30, 2016 at 12:57 am


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