Why Do Men Get More Attention? Exploring Factors Behind Success in an Online Design Community

    Online platforms are an increasingly popular tool for people to produce, promote, or sell their work. However recent studies indicate that social disparities and biases present in the real world might transfer to online platforms and could be exacerbated by seemingly harmless design choices on the site (e.g., recommendation systems or publicly visible success measures). In this paper we analyze an exclusive online community of teams of design professionals called Dribbble and investigate apparent differences in outcomes by gender. Overall, we find that men produce more work, and are able to show it to a larger audience thus receiving more likes. Some of this effect can be explained by the fact that women have different skills and design different images. Most importantly however, women and men position themselves differently in the Dribbble community. Our investigation of users’ position in the social network shows that women have more clustered and gender homophilous following relations, which leads them to have smaller and more closely knit social networks. Overall, our study demonstrates that looking behind the apparent patterns of gender inequalities in online markets with the help of social networks and product differentiation helps us better understand gender differences in success.

    Johannes Wachs, Anikó Hannák, András Vörös, Bálint Daróczy
    To appear in the Proceedings of the 11th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM'17), Montreal, May, 2017.