General Online Research 2011

March 14-16, 2011, Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf


Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or room to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview

C3: Social Media 'gendered' / GOR

Time: Tuesday, 15/Mar/2011: 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Session Chair: Ulf Tranow


On the Role of Gender-Stereotypes in Blog Reception

Sabrina C. Eimler, Nicole C. Krämer

University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Relevance & Research Question:

Blogs are a popular means to express thoughts or to exchange opinions/advice with the blogosphere. Many studies have investigated the structure of the blogosphere, characteristics of blog authors or the typicality of male/female blogs, while research on the reception of blogs especially with regard to gender stereotypes is still rare. While there is an uncountable number of blogs, the few influential A-list blogs are written by men. This study extends earlier studies on male bias in text evaluation (e.g. Goldberg, 1968) and explores the role of gender stereotypes in blog reception and author evaluation.

Methods & Data:

596 participants (mean age of M = 24.21; SD = 8.01) evaluated in a 3 (writer’s gender: male, female, undisclosed) x2 (blog topic: male, female) x2 (blog style: with and without self-disclosure) between subjects design the author as well as the blog’s quality.


Results indicate that e.g. the traditional male favoring bias in text evaluation does also apply to blog evaluation. Male authors were evaluated more positive with regard to competence (F (1,180) = 4.206, p= .042, ηp²=.023), extraversion (F (1,180) = 8.311, p = .004, ηp² = .044), and masculinity (F (1, 180) = 39.846, p < .001, ηp² = .181). However, women were evaluated to be more dominant (F (1,180) = 25.652, p < .001, ηp² = .125). Male and female authors were evaluated more positively when writing about topics that are traditionally associated with their gender (F(1, 174) = 3.97, p = .048, ηp² = .022). Moreover, if the blog contained a self-disclosing statement, the author was generally regarded as less competent as compared to an author using no self-disclosure: F (1,180) = 3.930, p = .049, ηp² = .021.

Added Value:

The study contributes to the scarcely covered aspect of blog reception in the context of gender stereotypes. Results show that stereotypes influence the perception of blog author’s and their entries. More than 40 years after Goldberg’s study, there still seems to be favoritism for male authors. This might explain the relatively unequal gender distribution regarding influential A-list bloggers in the blogosphere.

Eimler-On the Role of Gender-Stereotypes in Blog Reception-153.pdf

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? - Examining Gender Differences in Usage Motivation and Self-Presentation on Social Networking Sites

Anna-Margarita Papadakis, Jana Kruck, Nina Haferkamp

WWU Münster, Germany

Relevance & Research Question: Research on gender differences in Internet communication has already shown that women are more likely to be communicative and community orientated than men who are described as rather task and information oriented in computer-mediated communication (see e.g. Jackson et al., 2001). Similar results were found with regard to social networking site usage (Haferkamp & Krämer, 2010; Manago et al., 2008; Sveningsson, 2007; Thewall, to appear): Females spend more time thinking about their profile pages and place a higher priority on the main profile photograph than males. We thus hypothesized that self-presentation on social networking sites is impacted by gender differences. Furthermore, we also expect that there is a gender-related difference in the reasons why people use social network sites.

Methods & Data: A multi methodological research design was used. Firstly, an online survey with 106 randomly selected users of the German social networking site StudiVZ was conducted assessing users’ motivations to host a profile page as well as users’ attitudes and evaluations towards SNS usage. Secondly, a content analysis of all participants’ profile pages measured the specific SNS usage. It was e.g. coded what kind of private information was published and which photographs were selected for online self-presentation. Finally, results of the survey and the content analysis were interrelated.

Results: Results reveal that women are more concerned about online privacy and are more likely to use SNS for comparing themselves with others. They tend to use group names for their self-presentation and prefer adding portrait photos on their profiles. Men, however, rather look at other profiles to search for friends and choose full body shots for self-display.

Added value: The current study underlines the meaning of gender as an important determinant for analyzing online self-presentation. However, unexpected results also show that known gender stereotypes in Internet communication at least partly have to be reconsidered with regard to SNS usage.

From "Web Questions" to "Propensity Score Weighting": An Evaluation of Topics and Authors of the Conference Series "General Online Research" from 1997 to 2009

Martin Welker1, Monika Taddicken2

1Universität Leipzig, Germany; 2Universität Leipzig

Relevance & Research Question:

Since 1997, the GOR has developed from a workshop in German language to Europe’s most important international conference concerning the field of online research. GOR is an interdisciplinary conference series with researchers from different academic backgrounds. But: Little is known about the improvement and expansion of online research within social science: How have topics changed during time? Are there any specific research trends? Has online research become international and interdisciplinary? With this paper, we want to shed light to these questions.

Methods & Data:

We conducted a quantitative content analysis of all abstracts written for GOR conferences from 1997 to 2009 (N=950). The texts are publicly available via an online archive. 4 coder had to differentiate between the methodological aspects of each paper, research instruments used, the kind of data collection (online vs. offline) and the focus of the research question (quantitative vs. qualitative). Additionally some variables of the first authors (status, organization, nationality, discipline) were categorized. A sample of ca. 7% of all texts were coded twice, reliability was calculated for each variable.


We identified some typical profiles of topics and first authors which describe the research field. Furthermore we display some time frames: In the early years online research was focused on methodological questions, later on several online occurrences like weblogs or Twitter. Besides: GOR has become more and more international. During the last years, about a third of the GOR participants are not from Germany. They come mainly from Western Europe, but as well from Eastern Europe and the US.

Added Value:

The analysis shows the progress and maturity of the interdisciplinary research field “online research” in Central Europe. We identified some aspects which could advice researchers in the future: the transparency of sampling and the exactness of the summarizing abstracts.

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