Anonymous posts mean men read women more

According to Artios, an London-based artificial intelligence company, anonymous posts mean we are more likely to read female writers.

anonymous

As somebody who writes for The Economist I know all about anonymous bylines. Every story in that publication comes from within, those of us who are party of that privileged band of writers may not have our names accredited to the story we’ve written, but none of us care.

For gender relations, however, it would appear that people (including women) are more likely to read posts written by women if they are anonymous. A recent ‘blind’ survey of 1,000 people across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from AI company showed that we are biased towards male writers, when rated on a variety of criteria, including trustworthiness, approachability and friendliness.

The study also revealed that women generally responded more positively than men to all types of content, women and men were also more likely to feel patronised when the post was written by the opposite sex and posts written by men had a more positive overall response than posts written by women, It was, however, women that responded most favourably. 40% of women vs 38% of men rated male-authored content positively.

As a man who has read The Golden Notebook, Backlash and respects Naomi Klein more than 95% of men I have ever read, and who really thinks he is gender-neutral, I must make a terrible confession.

A cursory look at my sprawling library of books show a huge proportion of male writers. Maybe book publishers should ‘de-gender’ bylines and just show the surname. Maybe then this shocking imbalance can be rectified and we can all read the content, not the gender.

Monty (586 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.


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About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

One thought on “Anonymous posts mean men read women more

  1. I used to write and produce radio commercials in the first stage of my career – and one of the things that I learned – whether true or not – was that men tended to trust male voices (more than female voices) on commercials, and that women felt the same way too. It was also the case that most of the voice-over artists we booked were male, and if female voices were also needed in a script then they would be provided by one of the female copywriters / producers. We tried to correct this by booking more female voice-artists but the radio sales people and clients (as I remember it) seemed bemused as to why we would opt for a female voice over as the default for some scripts. Obviously, part of the problem was that where scripts were just along the lines of “This weekend, it’s CRAZY EDDIE’S BIG BIG sale with 30% off EVERYTHING” with a bombastic rock music soundtrack, male voices were a kind of self-perpetuating norm. The team I worked with tried to change this, and to some extent succeeded – better scripts, more rounded believable characters. I should also note that the arrival of ISDN technology meant we could remotely patch into the voice talent we needed, not pre-book a “one-size fits all” voice-over to come to the radio station for a session to record 15-20 different scripts in one go.

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