I’m a maaan, baby!
At least, in my writing I am.
The other day I came across an application called Gender Genie, which allegedy can suss out if a writer is male or female by studying a piece of writing . I tested several of my own samples, from this blog and others, ranging in topic from text messaging to acoustic music. And every time, the software declared, “The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: Male!” Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. And wrong again.
Luckily it’s OK to be gender-neutral when writing about marketing technology or underground music. In these cases, knowledge about the subject, and the ability to make it easy to understand, are more important than whether the “voice” is male or female.
But I got to thinking that the Gender Genie could be a useful tool for other copywriters. It could help them make sure content is tailored to the intended audience. That’s something that marketers, especially, must worry about when creating copy–even for websites and SMS/email marketing messages. Recipients sign up to receive the latter; if they don’t feel like these notices speak to them, they will cancel their subcriptions.
My experience with the writing algorithm reminded me of jobs I’d applied for long ago. Gigs for which I was more than qualified, and which were in the city where I lived, meaning it would cost the company nothing to bring me in for an interview. I never got my foot in the door. These positions were at places like gossip websites and mid-scale cosmetic vendors–that is, businesses that catered almost exclusively to women. The person writing lipgloss ad copy or catty celebrity news would likely need to have a certain type of female voice. And according to Gender Genie, that is not me!
Certain marketing experts, especially those selling a product that only appeals to a certain demographic, should see how they can tweak their marketing copy to really speak to that audience. Now, I don’t think Gender Genie is all that. I mean, it categorizes the very common word “a” as male! But since it’s fun to use, copywriters might as well make it one more tool to help craft the tone of their content.
I ran this post through the Gender Genie one more time–and once again, I scored far more male than female. In that vein, I’ll just say: D’oh!
Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
“I’d rather you text me”