The Search Insider today by Gord Hotchkiss was so darn good I had to respond to him. Then I remembered I have a blog. I can share my thoughts with the world (or the three people who read it every other Thursday). Gord writes about gender differences in search, and then concludes:
Perhaps the most interesting thing we found, despite the differences noted above, was this: when men and women interacted with almost every type of site online, there were distinct differences in how they assimilated information, navigated sites and responded to visual cues. When we looked at how they interacted with a search results page, the differences, while present, were much more subtle. Why? Hang onto that question, and I’ll hazard a guess next week.
Here was my gut reaction, not based on any "research" (like Gord cites all the time), but I’ll still throw this out there:
I’d venture that’s the difference between the conversational nature of search and the intransient nature of other web content. For instance, at most websites, they’re telling you whatever they have to say, and you respond to it however you do. If it’s in a language that works with you, you respond well; if it’s seemingly directed at someone else, you get frustrated or go away.
Search, however, responds only to what the user inputs. If the user wants information on business as opposed to finance, the search results will be tailored to business and not finance because that is what the user entered. If the user responds better to patio furniture than garden furniture, any of the content the search engine delivers will be pre-sorted to match those lexical preferences.
In a sense, the search engine becomes the ineffable partner, the one who’s always responding to you on target based on how you initiated the conversation. I’d further add that most of us can use that insight from search engines in our social involvements.