THE growing number of women using social media has been the catalyst for a new site from Fairfax Regional Media.
The company, which publishes The Armidale Express, will launch connectpink.com.au on Friday, June 15.
The site has been designed specifically for women, with built-in marketing opportunities for businesses wanting to target the female market.
Recent studies suggest that women dominate the social media space ahead of their male counterparts.
According to Pew Internet, a US-based research company, as many as 69 per cent of women online actively use social media.
Not surprisingly, those aged under 30 are the biggest users. However, the fastest growing group is women aged between 45 and 65.
This doesn’t surprise Janelle Yates, a Victorian communications expert who specialises in social media.
“Women are great communicators and they love to talk. That is what makes social media so attractive to them,” Ms Yates said. “Women are also multitaskers. It’s easy for them to be online at the same time as they are running a business or being a mum or doing whatever it is they like to do.”
Rachael Sowden, who is the New England regional chairperson for the Parents’ and Citizens’ Federation, says she responds to emails while watching her children’s swimming lessons, and is a keen user of Twitter and Facebook.
“I use Twitter a lot to find out information, and also to ensure that our message is heard. If people retweet you, it’s nice to see where your message goes,” she said. “It does engage a wider audience than you might be able to reach otherwise.”
Local romantic suspense author Bronwyn Parry uses blogging and Facebook to connect with her readers around the world.
“For a rural-based author, social media has the real advantage that it doesn’t matter where you are, people can still contact you,” she said. “And it’s great for professional networking too, because you don’t get to go to city-based conferences as often. Certainly as a beginning writer, social media and websites were critical to getting me started down the writing and publication path.”
Mental health nursing lecturer at the University of New England, Rhonda Wilson, also regards social media as an indispensable professional tool.
Her Twitter account, @RhondaWilsonMHN, describes her as a clinician and researcher specialising in the mental health problems of young rural people.
“Conferences and professional dialogue have been really important uses of social media for me,” she said. “When I go to conferences, I tweet from them, and sometimes that puts me in touch with people at the actual conference, and I meet up with them in person. Other times, it gives me enduring global professional linkages.”
ConnectPink content director Angela Carey said the site was not intended to compete with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the like.
“ConnectPink provides a more personal alternative, a place where women can connect, chat, shop, swap, share and more in an environment that is safe and gives them a real sense of belonging to a community that is theirs.”