Mazman.pdf - TOJET The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – April 2011 volume 10 Issue2 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN USING SOCIAL NETWORKS

Mazman.pdf - TOJET The Turkish Online Journal of...

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TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – April 2011, volume 10 Issue2 Copyright The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology 133 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN USING SOCIAL NETWORKS Research Assistant S. Güzin MAZMAN Associate Prof. Dr. Yasemin Koçak USLUEL Hacettepe University, Faculty of Education, Ankara Turkey [email protected] ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to determine individuals’ usage purposes of social networks with a focus on the possible differences between females and males. Facebook, which is one the most popular and being most widely used social network, is investigated in this study. The study group consisted of 870 Facebook users who responded an online survey designed by the researchers. Analyses of the results showed that usage purposes can be categorized under four categories, namely maintaining existing relationships, making new relationships, using for academic purposes and following specific agenda. Significant differences were found between genders in all of the purposes mentioned. While the difference on making new contacts was in favor of males, the differences on the other three user purposes were in favor of females. Keywords : Social networks, Facebook, gender differences, usage purposes INTRODUCTION Social networks have become a global phenomenon and attracted extensive population from all around the world in different ages, cultures, education levels, etc. In addition to routinely checking e-mails, reading daily forums and newspapers or following instant message tools, people now also check their social network profiles by following others’ status changes, updating their profiles or looking at others’ profiles. Research has shown that many people connect to social network sites at least once a day either to check their profiles or to participate in different online activities (Joinson, 2008; Lenhart, 2009). Social networks are defined as a body of applications that augment group interaction and shared spaces for collaboration, social connections, and aggregates information exchanges in a web-based environment (Barlett- Brag, 2006). Facebook, Myspace, Youtube, Flickr, and Linkedn are the most commonly known social network sites containing similar as well as different features. Facebook is handled among other social networks in this study because of being the most popular and most heavily visited social network website (eBizMBA, 2010). Facebook is defined as “a social utility that helps people share information and communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers” (facebook.com). Despite the fact that Facebook was launched in 2004 as a Harvard-only Social Network site, it expanded to include other high school students, professionals inside corporate networks, and eventually everyone who have access to the online world (Cassidy, 2006). Facebook provides an opportunity to users, to create personalized profiles that include general information like education
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