January 16, 2007

X are from Email, Y are from Blog

The New York Times lists of most emailed and most blogged articles of the day always offer an amusing contrast. Today is unusual in that the same article is on the top of both lists, but otherwise the blog-email dichotomy is amusingly stark.

Emailers are forwarding articles about marriage, real estate, shopping, fitness, global warming, and pets.

51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse
Buyers Scarce, Many Condos Are for Rent
The Warming of Greenland
Findings: The Voices in My Head Say ‘Buy It!’ Why Argue?
Modern Love: What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage
Ink: Labradors Still No. 1, but Yorkies, Dahling, Move Into Second Place
Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying
Netflix to Deliver Movies to the PC
Blazing a Paper Trail in China
Fitness: When It’s O.K. to Run Hurt

Meanwhile, bloggers are linking to articles about hangings (two different news stories, guns, talk radio, blogging, war, politics, and business:


51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse
A Rifle in Every Pot
U.S. and Iraqis Are Wrangling Over War Plans
Bloggers Take on Talk Radio Hosts In This Turn at the Top,
Democrats Seek the Middle on Social Issues
Two Hussein Allies Are Hanged, Iraqi Official Says
Anywhere the Eye Can See, It's Now Likely to See an Ad
24-Hour Newspaper People
Cheney Defends Efforts to Obtain Financial Records
Second Hanging Also Went Awry, Iraq Tape Shows


So, have you guessed the underlying reason why these are so different?

To generalize, men like to broadcast their thoughts to the world, for which a blog is useful, while women like to narrowcast to individuals, for which email is a blessing.

Articles typically fall off these charts in one or two days (it is a newspaper, after all), yet the venerable #5 most emailed article, Modern Love: What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage, about how to get your husband to obey using techniques for training killer whales at Sea World (reward him with sardines when he puts the toilet seat down?), was published last June 25th and is back on the charts again.

Looking at the lists, it strikes me that women are just a lot more practical minded than men. What do hangings in Iraq have to do with the typical male blogger's real life? Not much.

Still, there is a sense in which the female-oriented media cater to the self-destructive tendency among the typical woman who would rather, if she doesn't practice self-discipline, talk about her life than have a life. but the #7 emailed article, Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying, is an oldie-but-goodie from December 17th. I suspect that any couple who sits down with this list and attempts to methodically work through it (e.g., #12. "What does my family do that annoys you?") is unlikely to ever reach the altar. But, the would-have-been bride will be left with lots and lots of material to discuss with her fellow spinster girlfriends, which seems to be the point of many articles aimed at women.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

5 comments:

meep said...

I've got an alternative hypothesis: people email the practical articles to friends, where there may be some impact/help (I do that all the time...like an article on NY real estate to my husband). Many times these practical matters have a particular resonance with the person you email it to (continuing above example, we're looking to sell our apt in Queens and move upstate soon, thus the relevance of the article). This is not something that invokes big emotional reactions or is something emailers feel they need to share with the whole world.

People blog about articles that they've got strong opinions or emotions about, and many times ones they assume people have seen, but they link to the article for the particular reference. For example, I assume people know about the botched hanging where the guy got decapitated because the rope was too long. Say I have strong opinions about capital punishment and want to use this as an illustration of my disgust with it -- this I'll blog about, as opposed to sending it in an email to my mother.

I really don't think it's a men/women thing. I think it's a personal communication vs. soapbox kind of thing. If there were more blogs about the latest cars and more emails about the latest cosmetics, I might buy the male/female dichotomy.

Obama Bin Laden said...

I'm with Steve on this. And thank God for women, who keep the human species alive while men go on their adventures and schemes (all things that end with -ism are ridiculous and crazy in the end) and join their armies (all to impress women, incidentally).

Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D. said...

Modern Love: What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage.

Wow! I'm going to try the ideas in this article on my employees.

GKer said...

Observe that two of the most e-mailed NYT articles today are "Speaking Chic to Power" and "Skin Deep: Taming Frizz and Setting Curls Free", two articles that are not on today's most blogged list. Methinks this is more than a "personal communication vs. soapbox" kind of thing.

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