Men who used LinkedIn, men who send text messages to a larger number of people, and men who comment on other people’s posts more frequently on Facebook also tend to be more aware of major events in the lives of people close to them. These same technologies had no impact on woman’s awareness of events in the lives of people close to them.

Compared with a man with similar demographic characteristics that does not use the following technologies:

  • Those who send text messages to four different people through their mobile phones on an average day (the average for a male cellphone user) tend to be aware of 16% more events amongst those who are close to them.
  • A male user of LinkedIn visits the site fifteen times per month and is typically aware of 14% more events in the lives of their closest social ties.
  • A male Facebook user, who comments on other Facebook users content 19 times per month, is, on average, aware of 8% more events in the lives of their closest friends and family.

For women, the more friends on their Facebook network and the more pictures they shared online per week, the more aware of major life events in the lives of close friends and family. Compared with demographically similar women who do not use these technologies:

  • A woman who shares 4 photos online per week tends to be aware of 7% additional major events in the lives of those who are close to her.
  • A female Facebook user with 320 Facebook friends (the average for women in our sample) is, on average, aware of 13% more events in the lives of her closest social ties.

Similarly, men experienced higher levels of awareness as a result of a larger number of different technologies.

Facebook use is associated with more awareness of major events in the lives of acquaintances.

Looking beyond people’s close relationships to include a looser set of their acquaintances, we find that Facebook use is a consistent predictor of awareness of stressful events in others’ lives for both men and women. Specifically, the more Facebook friends people have, and the more frequently they “Like” other people’s content, the more major events they are aware of within their network of contacts.

  • Compared with a non-Facebook user, a male Facebook user with 320 Facebook friends is, on average, aware of 6% more major events in the lives of their extended acquaintances. A female Facebook user with the same number of friends is aware of 14% more events in the lives of their weak ties.
  • A male or female Facebook user who “Likes” other people’s content about once per day, is typically aware of 10% more major events in the lives of their extended acquaintances.

For women, Instagram is related to lower awareness of major events in the lives of acquaintances, while Twitter and photo sharing are related to higher awareness.

Women are also likely to have higher awareness of their extended network as a result of the number of pictures they share online and through frequent use of Twitter. Compared with a demographically similar woman who does not use these technologies:

  • A female Twitter user, who uses the site once per day, tends to be aware of 19% more events in the lives of their extended network.
  • A woman who shares 4 digital pictures per week is typically aware of 6% more events in their network of lose social ties.

Use of Instagram was the only technology use that we found to predict lower levels of awareness, and only for women. This might be the case because Instagram is used differently that some other kinds of social media. Scholars have found that many people make cellphone calls and exchange text messages predominantly with their closest ties. They have argued that this is “tele-cocooning,” and they believe that people’s use of mobile phones leads to contact with more intimate relations at the expense of weaker and more diverse social ties. Instagram use may be tied to a similar pattern. Those who use Instagram might reduce their focus on the lives of their social ties that are not considered especially close. Controlling for other factors, a female user of Instagram who uses the platform a few times per day is, on average, aware of 62% fewer major events in the lives of their extended network than someone who does not use Instagram at all.

For men, text messaging, email, and Pinterest are related to higher awareness of major events in the lives of acquaintances.

In addition to use of Facebook, men’s awareness of stressful events in their friends’ lives tends to be higher for those who email and send text messages to a larger number of people. Compared with someone who does not use these technologies:

  • A male email user who is in contact with 9 different people by email per day is generally aware of 13% more events in the lives of their distant social circle.
  • A male who sends text messages to four people per day is, on average, aware of 11% more major events in the lives of their weaker social ties.

ORIGINAL POST