Why Gay People Love the Internet

900gaygeek.jpgGay and lesbian people are more likely to read blogs and more likely to spend time on social networks said research published today by the American Survey Company, Harris International, and it just got me wondering why..

“Gay and lesbian adults online today are among the nation’s most loyal and heaviest blog readers and social network users” concluded the report.

Check out the stats they discovered below then have a quick look at my reasons and see if you agree..

The Findings

The report found that a majority of gay and lesbian adults read blogs online. More than half (54%) of gay men and lesbian respondents read some type of blog, compared to only 40% of heterosexuals. They are more likely than straight people to read all sorts of blogs – news blogs (36% compared to 25% of straight people), pop culture blogs (25% to 16%) and of course – gay blogs: 35% of lbgt people read gay blogs.

Gay and lesbian people are also more likely to be members of social networking sites. Here are the findings:

Facebook: A remarkable three-quarters (73%) of gay and lesbian adults state they are members of Facebook, compared to 65% of heterosexual adults.
MySpace: 32% of gay and lesbian respondents report being members of MySpace, compared to 22% of heterosexual respondents (albeit a shrinking number of both groups from past years).
LinkedIn: When it comes to the business-oriented social networking site, LinkedIn, 22% of gay and lesbian respondents report being members, while 16% of heterosexual adults state they are members.
Twitter: Nearly 3 out of 10 (or 29%) gay men and lesbians report they are members of Twitter, while the same can be said of just 15% of heterosexual adults.

The Reasons
The stats are interesting, it just made me wonder why gay people are more into blogging, social networking and well, the internet generally. I could think of 4 reasons

1) If you don’t like the real world very much – you’re much keener to jump into a new one. It’s like the way the disenfranchised people of Europe dashed off to America as soon as it opened up back in the 1800s. Well it’s sort of like that. Basically the lure of a New World is much stronger if you don’t like the old one. And let’s face it, a lot of the real world is not a gentle place for gay people,so the new vistas opened up the virtual one seem more appealing. To be honest this is probably the same reason a lot of awkward geeky straight kids who don’t love their real-world lives enjoy the internet too.

2) If you belong to a very thinly-spread community, (whether that’s gays or Marvel Comic afficionados) the internet is an important way to connect with people. It’s a quick easy way to build up networks.

3) Gay people are more used to having to look for what you want… There is a very slim chance that Mr/Ms Right is going to the boy/girl next door. Gays are much more used to having to trek around looking for the other gay in the village etc, so having to do a little investigative googling to find a good music review is not that much of a hurdle, hence the fact that gays are a bit more into delving through the blogosphere.

4) The internet is a place to recreate yourself.. just look at World of Warcraft. Okay, that’s not a very glamourous parallel but the internet is a place where it’s very easy to tinker with different identities – something gay people often have to do to come to terms with themselves. Social networks are a great place to do that. And while h8ers may h8.. at least no-one can punch you.

What do you think? Opinions welcome…

[Harris International, via TechCrunch]
Anna Leach


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  • identity and, I guess you could call it ‘geography’ on the interwebz is super interesting. that’s a good point about documentation as well.

  • Anna, this is one of my pet topics. Can’t resist! And I have a long train ride! I think it’s also about marking out queer space. Firstly, the physical landscape is heteronormative and slow to create space where queers find their physical niche, whether that’s Stoke Newington (being replaced by Clapton, the new Park Slope of London!) or Vauxhall. The web is an infinitely expanding space that in theory is ungendered and has no sexuality. It doesn’t require wrestling into being queered.
    More interestingly perhaps, I think it’s to do with asserting a gay identity over straight space. I find it really interesting how documented queer nights are, or even just regular social occasions populated by a bunch of gays. Those photos go straight up on the web. I was there. We were there. The gays occupied this space. It’s a way of leaving a gay trace. I think it’s no coincidence that a far stronger queer community has developed physically, and geographically particularly in East London, at pace with advances in social networking.

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