TECH

Twitter Tool, Twee-Q, Shows 'Gender Equality' Of Retweets

13/05/2013 07:07 BST

Ever fretted that your retweets may be betraying an ugly underlying sexist side to you?

Now a new web tool allows Twitter users to calculate the proportion of male and female comments they choose to "retweet".

Visitors to www.twee-q.com can find out the gender split of messages and opinions they endorse or promote by retweeting by simply entering their Twitter name, or that of friends and celebrities who use the social network.

twitter twee q gender

To mark its launch in the UK on Monday, they put some politicians and celebrities to the test

The site created in Sweden works by taking the user's last 100 tweets and identifying the sex of those people they retweeted. A score is produced, with10 demonstrating a 50-50 male-female split. The lower the figure, the greater the apparent gender bias, its creators say.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has a Twee-Q (Twitter Equality Quotient) of 5.4 after retweeting 65% men and 35% women, according to the site.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg rates 7.8 after retweeting 56% men and 44% women - the same as Harry Styles from One Direction.

Prime Minister David Cameron has only retweeted once, when he forwarded a Budget Day comment by Chancellor George Osborne, giving him a Twee-Q of zero.

Elsewhere in the world of showbiz, Justin Bieber scored 3.8 having retweeted 72% men and 28% women compared to 45% men and 55% women by Lady Gaga who scored 8.2. The figures are based on analysis taken on May 10.

Author and journalist Joan Smith, who writes on gender equality, said that the many more men being retweeted was a reflection of society's "male-dominated" centres of power including politics and business.

Ms Smith teamed up with Swedish equal opportunity campaigners Crossing Boarders to launch the UK site following its success in Sweden.

The NGO commissioned Stockholm-based creative agency Deportivo to create the tool which went live in the country in July last year.

She said: "I know many women who are hesitant to use Twitter, either because they aren't confident about expressing their views or fear a hostile reaction.

"I don't think men have the same hesitation, which means their voices are louder and more frequently-expressed. I think a lot of people will be surprised by the result of this tool's analysis of their behaviour on social media.

"If you're interested in the world of politics and journalism, you will probably discover that you re-tweet men much more than women - that's certainly my experience.

"It reflects the fact that the centres of power, including parliament and business, remain heavily male-dominated.

"The Twee-Q tool offers a valuable insight into the gender make-up of the Establishment and a thought-provoking inter-active experiment."