An executive search firm’s research for its annual Barreled Point Survey found that in the last two years, many men have stopped going to networking events for networking; in fact, it said, they have become less active in social networking.
Why? Aside from the obvious feeling of sociability that goes with networking, men value quality, consistency and strength. The fact that they like to network is often taken for granted, but for these men, it means different things to different people. There are more than 4 million online communities in the United States alone, and data suggest that men like to interact with these communities in different ways. Men, in particular, engage online by incorporating their interests and interests into other people’s conversations.
Men can be territorial, confident but highly introverted (as Seth Godin has noted), and they are protective and socially complex (think Guy Kawasaki).
Perhaps it’s no surprise that an experiment performed by Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon universities to compare and contrast online communication styles concluded that males use certain types of online community content and mediums to organize themselves in male-dominated environments.
Online communities need to balance masculine norms with engaging digital content that appeals to men’s differences and their need for social interactions. There’s no lack of efforts in the online world to ease women into the site and to create more parity in online communities. These efforts have ranged from adding female-identifying features to gathering up first-in-line males in in-and-out networking events. There are now networks such as Fusion Careers and the website the Good Place run by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). The connections you make there are likely to not only be deeper but also more meaningful and emotional, because you may feel more personally, socially, and even professionally connected with your colleagues on the site. If you are one of the small subset of men who want to have offline meetings too, give those efforts a shot.