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On Facebook, women mention husbands, men don't mention wives

Technically Incorrect: A study of word-use on Facebook shows that the sexes express themselves in very distinct ways.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

But does it connect husband and wife?


Now that it's the world platform for being, Facebook reveals more and more about us.

We reveal ourselves while Facebook prowls and serves us edifying ads and while researchers pour over our data to find out who we really are.

A new study, performed by researchers at the University of Melbourne and elsewhere, examined how the sexes used words differently on Facebook.

It enjoyed a hopeful title: "Women Are Warmer, But No Less Assertive Than Men."

Beneath this optimism, there lurked a troubling item: women use the word "husband" often, while men use the word "wife" not so much at all.

Perhaps, you'll wonder, men only referred to their beloved by name. Perhaps, you'll insist, women wanted to do anything other than actually mention the name of the man they married.

Please, then, consider these words from the study's conclusions: "The language most characteristic of self-identified females was warmer, friendlier, and focused on people, whereas self-identified males' most characteristic language was more socially distant, disagreeable, and focused on objects."

Yes, men really do say "s***" and "f***" a lot on Facebook. Among other popular words used by men: "fight," "sports," "bet," "win" and, oh, "government."

What surprised the researchers, though, was that women were slightly more assertive than men.

The study looked at 68,228 Facebookers (with their permission). Researchers employed computational linguistic analysis to see what was being said.

It seems that how we think may reflect how we express ourselves in social media. But does someone want to conclude that women often think about their husbands and men rarely think about their wives? I certainly wouldn't.

It's wise not to forget that Facebook is a public forum. This means that people tend to behave as they'd like to be seen by their alleged friends.

It seems that men would like to be seen as macho sports types who swear a lot, win a lot and see women in a particular way.

I hear that sort of attitude can even win you elections.