I was reading an article today that claimed women are embracing online communities more so than men. These results are apparently the opposite of a 2007 study. Story here, if you can't/won't access it from the site: Spoiler NEW YORK - In a sharp reversal, more young women are now embracing online communities than their male counterparts, a new study says. By contrast, men are showing some signs of "networking fatigue," with fewer men saying that their online communities are as important as their offline equivalents. The shift in attitudes between the two sexes has taken place over just a couple of years. Researchers at the University of Southern California are reporting this week that 67 percent of women under 40 said they feel as strongly about their Internet communities as their offline ones, while only 38 percent of men said the same. In 2007, the numbers were just the reverse, with 69 percent of the men and 35 percent of the women feeling that way. Internet communities don't just mean social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, but include online gathering sites focused on hobbies, politics or spirituality. Michael Gilbert, senior fellow at USC's Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, said women tend to adopt new technologies more slowly than men, but once they do, they catch up and often surpass men in their enthusiasm. Men made up the bulk of the shoppers who lined up Saturday to get their hands on Apple's new iPad in many cities including Seattle and New York, but that doesn't mean that gender disparity is permanent. Gilbert said women are finding deeper connections to Web communities because many of them go there for social reasons rather than to find information about hobbies, for example. Men, especially those from 25 to 39, are disengaging from social networks. "The infatuation is over," he said. In 2005, 77 percent of men under 40 said their online community was "extremely important." That number has now dropped to 39 percent. The latest findings are part of the Annenberg Center's decade-long study of 2,000 families and their digital habits. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Focus: What's your story? How important are online communities (like TiB) to you? Alt. Focus: Discuss what you think people gain or lose through being involved in online communities. Focus: I enjoy this place, because I find it entertaining. It gives me something to do while I'm at work or bored. I've had many PM conversations with many people, but I don't feel the need to post much, as I often don't feel I have anything worthwhile/original to add, or I simply don't feel like sharing. I've met exactly one person off this board face to face, and they were cool, however, that's not something I'd make a practice out of, as I have enough friends in real life. As a whole, online communities are fairly unimportant to me, but they can provide decent entertainment. Alt. Focus: The gains in my mind are strictly entertainment and knowledge. There are funny people here, and there are knowledgeable people here. You can hear many different viewpoints on many topics, and discuss your own views. The losses, I believe, are social losses. Pm'ing, taking on the phone, etc. is not a substitute for meeting people. The fantasy land/persona people can create here can be detrimental to their normal, actual, real-life lives. If you spend more time on the board than you do hanging out with actual friends, you might want to consider tweaking your social life. There's no substitute for real life as far as I'm concerned.