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Shock: Google+ users are 88% male

Hey ladies! I’m throwing a party, and guess who’s on the guest list? Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook. Larry, Sergey and Vic Gundotra from Google. And of course, Robert Scoble. So you’re coming, right? Right? … Right?

Basically, that’s the pitch from Google+, a new social network that’s supposed to dethrone Facebook. Google plans a public launch soon, but until then Google+ is only open to invited users. For whatever reason, they’re almost all dudes.

The five men I named above are Google+’s most followed users. Of its top 50 users, only about 7 are women. And according to socialstatistics.com, a program that monitors Google+ demographics, the site’s users are 88% male.

That is staggering. For comparison:

This does not bode well for Google+.

Let’s take a little detour and talk about Facebook. Like Google+, Facebook started as a walled garden. It opened first as a social service for students from elite colleges and universities. This ensured (maybe by accident) that influential women would be early adopters. Getting women on board helped Facebook succeed.

Today, Facebook users in the U.S. are 54.7% women. Women love Facebook. Men love Facebook. Brands love Facebook. Everybody wins.

So far, mostly men love Google+. Women are staying away. And Google+ managers are actually telling brands not to bother participating in the service, at least for now.

Google’s past attempts to launch collaborative and social services—Google Buzz and Google Wave—drew praise from early adopters the tech community. Then they flopped spectacularly when released to ordinary consumers.

Last year, when Google announced it was discontinuing support for Wave, a company blog post noted that the product got cheers at its launch announcement:

“We were equally jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication…. But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked.”

In other words, Google employees and fans got it, but outside the tech community, almost no one else did.

Google+ might be different, but so far it’s off to a bad start. It has a heavy bias toward the male-dominated engineering culture that built it. The site won’t be a success until women are using it in equal numbers as men.

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Related post: Dear social media developers

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Marketing, Social Media, Technology

9 comments

  1. Jay Hoytt says:

    Since Google+ is still invite-only, seems like you would have to have some data on the demographics of the *invites sent* to be able to make a comment on whether a specific gender is “staying away”.

  2. hmmm… this is true of lots of tech so I’m not surprised. Also true of demographics for early adopters.

    Men have more time for nonsense? oh, just kidding. it’s irrelevant who adopts early… it matters who comes and stays.

    But thanks for looking out for us gals.

  3. Chuck Gose says:

    I’m a little concerned about the 2%.

  4. So why are women staying away? Is it because their friends aren’t inviting them? You make it seem that women stay out because they are afraid of tech. Hardly. Who says it has to be even right out the gate? The platform has been on field trial (beat) for under a month. Give it time, even as fast at the interwebs move this is still a sliver of time to be concerned about.

    http://www.womenofgplus.com – there are tons of smart women in G+, you just have to look for them. 😉

  5. Daryl Lang says:

    Jay makes a good point. It would have been more precise for me to write, “Women are present in smaller numbers” than “Women are staying away.”

    And Lynette, thanks for sharing the link to your site! It’s very appropriate to this conversation and I hope people will check it out.

  6. Nun says:

    g+ is in testing, and invites went out to tech people. I wouldn’t be surprised if 88% of developers and so on are male in the first place.

  7. I am on Google+ and I am a woman, I think we will be there in droves soon, just watch.

  8. Kevin says:

    Pssshhhhht!!!! Women, who needs ’em? 😛 seriously though, women may not be a fan of G+ because it’s clean, organized and functional. Once it gets hard to manage and frustrating to use, the chicks will be all over it because that’s a nature that they’re most able to identify with.

  9. Ari Moore says:

    Re: Kevin’s comment: One of the reasons why this woman doesn’t enjoy being in male-dominated spaces.

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