Women and Social Media in Canada

Canada has some of the highest Internet penetration and social networking usage rates in the world and is a hub for communication, information and entertainment.  The Canadian Internet population is increasing rapidly and is at 28 million today.  The total population of Canada is 34 million, which means that over 82% of Canadians are connected.  As in any country, most users absorb information and in Canada it is reported that we have 6 million content creators.

Women of all ages have firmly established their presence on the social web and account for the majority of users on many social media sites.  Globally, women demonstrate higher engagement levels with social networking sites than men.  Although men are the majority across the global internet, women spend about 8% more time online.  In 2010, 76% of women visited a social networking site compared to 7% of men and specifically in North America, the social networking reach is 91% of women and 87.5% of males.

Social media offers women in leadership new opporunities to get more connected in the digital age.  What can you do?

  1. Don’t see tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + and any other one that pops up since I write this as a place to go.  Think about what you get value in your day-to-day life and find those places online where it enhances what you do, your hobbies and any other aspect.
  2. The tools will change but the ability to connect with other likeminded people and build relationships is much easier online.   You can choose to lurk or jump into a conversation.   But if you like someone’s content, you can also start a conversation with them.
  3. If you want to connect your online experience with meeting people in person, check out tools like Plancast where you can find and take part in local events.  It is still geared more towards early adopters so you will be able to find people who share your interests.
  4. If you have a tablet, download the Flipboard application and access your networks in an easy to engage format.
  5. Women tend to trust common experience online, while men trust authority, so finding and connecting with other women around areas of interest is a way to build your network.
  6. Women tend to spend time online: networking professionally, staying up-to-date with friends and family, staying up-to-date with groups they belong to, promoting their business and researching products or services (information).
  7. Women who connect online on social issues like the recent Slave Lake fires can make a huge difference.  It only takes a small number of people who care who can easily connect to drive change. Support for this tragedy was spear headed by a small group of online Edmonton moms who asked for donations through Facebook and Twitter .  In merely 4 hours, the group received 5 times the Facebook fans and received constant updates on Twitter – they made  a difference!
  8. Social media gives women a voice but influence  comes only if women are strategic and collective.
  9. You can find my recent presentation on slideshare.com - another great resource to share online.
  10. Hope to see you online!  Feel free to start a conversation here …

About Ayelet Baron

Ayelet is an expert in social business, online collaboration, global business strategy and operations. Her particular area of focus is implementing strategy and driving business results through people. She has a passion for social good and is currently working with youth in Kenya, using Cisco TelePresence. She is also on the Board of goal4.org and One Media. Ayelet is currently on the Canadian Executive Leadership Team and is responsible for strategy and transformation. She was previously on the executive team of Emerging Markets where she was looking at ways that emerging technologies can generate greater equity in Emerging Markets. Ayelet completed a Cisco Leadership Fellowship, where she worked with CIOs of 26 global non-profit organizations (Save the Children, Plan International, Care, Ashoka, etc.) on a roadmap of how to leverage repeatable ICT solutions, capabilities and resources for sustainable development. She also led the Healthcare Working Group, where she was responsible for ICT healthcare initiatives. Ayelet has a bonus chapter on the Generations and Social Media in Fuse -- http://www.fusethebook.com/
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