“Tracking the Virtual Man”: Defining The Four Types of Male Internet Users

By September 24, 2008

Metrics company ComScore and global communications agency Leo Burnett have released a new report outlining the four types of male Internet users. According to the study, Internet usage follows the same changes in notions of male gender that are occurring in contemporary society. In large part, the division mirrors the “metro/retrosexual” ideas of masculinity. The report relates that 40% of the male Internet population are either metrosexuals or retrosexuals, who “have been informed by women’s empowerment and feminism, and see themselves either adapting to new societal roles or rejecting them. The media seems fixated on the struggle between these groups and the tension that exists between them.” The study identifies four dominant male Internet user types: The Metro, the Retro, the Patriarchs, and the Powerseekers.

- The Metro is the “Social Butterfly,” whose main online activity is social networking.

- The Retro is a “Web Pragmatist,” who reveres his “former offline life.” He uses the web as a tool, spending no more time than necessary online.

- The Patriarch is the “Loyal Protector,” who uses the internet mainly for career, family, and financial affairs.

-The Powerseeker is the “King of Bling,” “the number one buyer on the web.”

While the study is informative and interesting, its reliance on our most prevalent images of masculinity underscores the traditional assumptions about gender implicit in advertising, no matter what the sex. And, as any masculinist truly knows, there are really only two types of men: Macs and PCs.

Study available here.

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