The collateral damage that I personally experienced when Twitter broke up with LinkedIn this week was an abrupt decline in the sharing of my posts on LinkedIn. I actually lost more than 90% of my LinkedIn shares per post – so where I might have had 40 shares before, I now have three or four. Clearly a large majority of the shares of my posts on LinkedIn were fed from Twitter.
What I didn’t expect was how ineffective sharing on LinkedIn is (for me). When I looked into traffic referred from LinkedIn it was (substantially) less than 1% of Twitter-referred traffic. Yet as a percentage of shares, Leaders West received about 20% LinkedIn shares as a proportion of Twitter shares. The bottom line is that LinkedIn was very inefficient in driving traffic to the site.
As I was thinking about why LinkedIn was such an inefficient vehicle for sharing, I kept wondering if the gender differences between platforms could explain the disparity. Taking that thought further, I wondered if there was any Google Plus insight to glean from the sharing efficiency on LinkedIn.
ComScore released a study at the beginning of the year that said that time per user per month on Google Plus was about five minutes. An aspect of that story that wasn’t explored (that I saw) was who shared the poorly-engaged space with Plus: LinkedIn and MySpace. What do the three platforms have in common? They are predominantly male. (as I was reading about Foursquare for my post about their identity struggles I found out that they are likewise about 60/40 male to female)
As I read about gender differences in sociability, a common theme was a divergence in social behavior at a very young age (females explore their world socially, where males tend towards dominance), and I thought back to the insight of “deliberate practice” in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. Are women more sociable because they are more experienced at it? Does that sociability advantage translate to social platforms? When looking at a platform like LinkedIn or Google Plus, does that inversion of social mastery manifest itself in the culture of these platforms? Or do I just know the wrong people on LinkedIn?
The point is simply that low-engagement is a hallmark of male dominated social networks (currently anyhow). I’m curious if behaviors on these sites are reflective of the users, or if users are attracted to these sites because they cater somehow to user proclivities? Or if gender is a factor at all?
But most of all, I’m just curious about how I’m going to make up that 1% in referred traffic. :)