How does instant messaging affect interaction between the genders?

By Christine Lee, cmlee @

>> Is the Internet really the great equalizer between males and females? Or do men and women still communicate differently with each other even when they're communicating online? Seeking to answer these questions, I analyzed the logs of instant messaging exchanges of 50 pairs of college students that had taken place between September 2002 and May 2003.

>> I discovered that gender differences similar to those found in real space do exist in instant messaging among college students, but that the nature of instant messaging lessens those differences in mixed gender conversations. Male-male and female-female conversations each possess distinctive characteristics, indicating that there are gender-based tendencies in instant messaging. However, in male-female conversations, instant messaging equalizes some of the traditional gender differences found in real space interaction, as well as some of the differences found between male-male and female-female conversations.

>> Read more about my findings below (or if you want to learn more about other aspects of gender interaction, go to Abe's project about flirting in instant messaging here).

>> Conversations Between Males
>> Conversations Between Females

Mixed-Gender Conversation
Differences from Real Space
Differences from Same Gender IM

>> Conclusion
>> References

[IM & Gender | 291 kb]


Other Projects
::Allen's ::Eric's::Chris's::Juan's::Abe's::

© 2003 theMercuryProject. Stanford, CA 94305.
Comments? Suggestions? E-mail us at theMercuryProject
Last Updated: Sat June 7, 2003 4:43 PM