December 30th, 2005

breaking bad

Just the facts ma'am

Some research on how women and men use the Internet provides an example of how statistics are distorted by the media. Here are the actual findings:

Men and women are equally likely to log on from work, to have Internet sessions of varying length, to access the net daily or only every few weeks, to have dial-up at home or at work. Men and women are equally likely to use a search engine, to get information on hobbies, to get travel information, to buy a product on the Internet, to buy or make travel reservations, to watch videos or to listen to audios, to visit a government website, to look up phone numbers or addresses, to take a virtual tour, to instant message, to bank, to play online games, to get information on where to live, to get information on someone, to share files, to read a blog, to download computer games, to donate to charity, to send e-invitations, to create a blog, to take classes for credit, to play lottery or gamble and to order from spam.

That's a long list of statistical measures where no significant variation was found. Men were much more likely to download porn and sport results, and more likely to take part in auctions. There were two additional measures where there were small differences:

More men, 30%, than women, 25%, said the internet helped them a lot to learn more about what was going on, while more women, 56%, than men, 50%, said it helped them connect with people they needed to reach. These differences are statistically significant.

But this research is reported by Reuters as follows:

Men want facts, women seek relations on Web - survey
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