Boy vs. Girl – Who is better at social networking?

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Men working in the cosmetics industry are more savvy at online professional social networking than women, but the reverse is true for women in the ranching and tobacco industries.

Those findings may seem counterintuitive, but that’s what data researchers at LinkedIn Corp. found after looking at the activities and networking ratios of the professional social network’s 100 million members.

LinkedIn senior data scientist Scott Nicholson said in a blog post that overall, men were more savvy than women at professional social networking, but even the data team was surprised after examining specific industries.

“Women are more savvy networkers in the ranching industry. Men are more savvy networkers in the cosmetics industry. Wait, what? That was exactly our reaction when we saw the initial results for our latest data insights blog post on the differences in social networking behavior between men and women,” Nicholson wrote.

The team also looked at how men and women networked at the company level.

“In the U.S., some examples of companies where males are the more savvy networkers are Walmart, Kaiser Permanente, and, surprisingly, Mary Kay (a majority female company),” he said.

In the U.S., women were savvier networkers than men in:

1. Alternative dispute resolution

2. Tobacco

3. Alternative medicine

4. Ranching

5. International trade and development

But men were savvier than women in:

1. Medical practice

2. Hospital & health care

3. Cosmetics

4. Law enforcement

5. Capital markets

The data team said there were several factors that could explain the results, such as seniority, job function and the need for the minority gender to work harder at making connections to break into or get ahead in the particular industry.

In a press release, LinkedIn’s connection director Nicole Williams, author of “Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success,” said women shouldn’t be intimidated by professional networking.

“Women can sometimes shy away from networking because they associate it with schmoozing or doling out business cards, when in reality, it’s about building relationships before you actually need them,” she said.

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