Catholic Men and Women and Twitter

Thomas of Identified Catholic tweeted this question:

You will note that it is clearly directed at his male followers.

I proceeded to (not entirely ironically) illustrate what I believe to be the underlying cause by responding to his tweet with a joke about whether the #Cathmen would have more followers if they were female because to be female is to be more social. Or something.

Social and pushy are the same thing, right?

Thomas responded that he is pretty social, and when I tried to offer examples of Catholic men who seem to have plenty of followers he responded that he already follows them.

So, what’s up with all of this?

I don’t know.

First of all, I don’t know if this is really a thing. A quick look at the Catholics that I follow (guesstimated at 1,500 between two accounts) shows that it is pretty normal for people to have about 200-300 followers. In my little world there are about equal numbers of men and women who have more than 1,000 followers. In fact, it was easy for me to think of several men to suggest to Thomas (Jeffrey, Jonathan, Marc, Jared, William, etc. etc.). It was much more challenging to try to come up with examples of Catholic women whom one would think of as having a lot of followers.

My very unscientific (but totally theologically correct, yo!) examination shows that I follow both some men and some women who are crazy chatterboxes tweeting more than 10 times a day. The only difference that I can see is that more women tend to go into lengthy conversations with numerous @s. To make things even more fun, the Catholic women on Twitter appear to be more likely to jump into existing conversations, thus extending them even further.

There are some men who do this, but more often than not there is at least one woman involved in the conversation. And when it is strictly a man-Twitter-convo (with all the women, such as myself, silently spying) it is almost always directly about theology, not personal daily experience. The man-centered Twittersations are also more likely to look like arguments (theological arguments) and less likely to look like, well, anything else.

I have yet to see a man-twittersation that includes tweets such as “Oh, that is so horrible that you found that out about Yves Congar
and Abelard!” And then another one chime in with “I felt the same way when I realized that Jean-Luc Marion and Jacques Maritain weren’t even the same person!” But I frequently see women have similar conversations, just switch out the theologians names for pretty much anything. I should note that I also some women who use Twitter in this “man” style, but I doubt that they would meet Thomas’ idea of having a large following.

For what it is worth (aka, nothing) Twitter was originally intended to be used more in the style of Father Charles with some interaction with one’s followers, but mostly a steady one-directional stream of brilliant short thoughts. Twitter was, of course, designed by men.

As it happens, this may all line up with general use of Twitter. Supposedly “posting status updates is the second most popular reason women use Twitter, while more men use it to find the latest news.” Well, at least back in the day when this was written.

In short, in my little Catholic Twitter-world, women certainly appear to be more engaged because they are more conversational, but that does not necessarily show that they have more of a following.

Does this match up with what you observe? Do you think that women naturally have more followers on blogs and Twitter?

And just for fun, I leave you with two awesome under-followed Twitter suggestions. My estimation of your Twitter-prowess will be at least doubled if I find out that you are following these two:

Man: Mark Szewczak
Woman: Kallah Rachel

And, as always, please let me know if I am not following you on Twitter. I happen to love to use Twitter as a two-way social tool, but I stink at always noticing who I should be following. 

Catholic Quirks ,


  1. I did not see that one coming… I felt like a celebrity seeing my name. Not worthy of twitter followers though – I am so sporadic and tend to just reTweet smarter and funnier people :)

    • Rae

      The awesome thing about Twitter is that even if people only Tweet sporadically you can just follow more people and wait for the wit to flow in whenever it does!

  2. I think your unscientific observation is pretty accurate. It seems like women are involved in a lot more extended Twitter-convo’s men. And, it seems there’s a lot more women involved in personal conversations, life stuff, than men. Twittersations between men are probably more likely to revolve around the content shared. So, that probably makes women more social on Twitter, which would fit, but I don’t know if women necessarily have more followers on Twitter. I’m not sure if that fits. I think my level of “social” on Twitter is directly related to how much time I’ve got to spend. Twitter convo’s can take a bit of time. Short status updates or sharing content don’t take as much time.

    • Rae

      Very good points! And I had thought about the time issue but forgot to include it in the post. I think that a lot of the Catholic women that I follow are SAHMs or students or work desk jobs with a fair bit of downtime for Twitter conversations.

      Also, there is probably a significant portion of people who unfollow others who clog streams with too many Twitter conversations, so that would make the “male” style more likely to retain followers.

      • I’d agree with this assessment. My breadwinning is done by being online all day, but even so much as tabbing over to Twitter during business hours is a total time- and productivity-suck. Were time no object (or were twitversations to happen in the evening; those hours just seem to be when everyone does their unidirectional football screaming), I’d probably be much more social on Twitter.

    • waywardson

      I am seeing some women having a VERY personal conversation on my twitter feed. Guys rarely have these conversations in real life and almost never on twitter.

      Not to perpetuate gender stereotypes, but it has been said the men talk to report, women talk for rapport. That seems to fit twitter use patterns.

  3. Very interesting. I’m not sure what I think about all this. But I wanted you to know I read it with great interest.

  4. I was very surprised to randomly discover this!

    I also mentioned blogs. My own very unscientific observations have been that it is not unusual for women, especially moms, to have a lot more followers than I do: even taking into account length of time blogging, frequency of posting, and (granted: my opinion of the) quality of writing.

    My tweet was a question though. Not an assertation. My impression is what I wrote above, but I’m by no means convinced that it is necessarily true.

    Even if it is, it’s not that it’s a problem, it’s that it is interesting to wonder what it may highlight about the differences in men & women.

    • Rae

      I think part of my problem is that I haven’t used Blogger much since 2003 when it wasn’t even Blogger, and so I don’t know how it works. I would have thought that you would have gotten a trackback from this post. Also, when you referred to blog followers I am guessing that you mean the Google connect follower thing for Blogger. I can’t say much about that as I don’t use it and I have seen very few male bloggers who use it (you and a few others being worthy exceptions).

      For other blogging platforms it is very difficult for me to determine follower count in a meaningful way. For instance, I have 2 or 3 followers on this blog depending on the day. But I am likely to get more attention for any given post than my other (mostly–but not quite all–dead) Catholic blog where I still have 50 followers.

      Anyway, I’m just tossing out ideas based on my own very-small world, and love learning about how things are in others’ experiences!

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