The Virtual Women Community

By: Dana Weimann Saks   Vered Elishar-Malka   Yaron Ariel  

This study examines the activity and expression patterns of women within closed, multi-participant women's Facebook groups. At the research center, the three largest groups of their kind in Israel, which have been created, and are now being managed by, and dedicated exclusively to, women. This study aims to learn about the unique women's virtual community by examining the type of dynamic and discourse that take place within these groups: their usages patterns, their perception of intimacy, sharing, support, and self-disclosure. A quantitative content analysis was conducted to randomly examine posts that were written during December 2017-January 2018 by members and administrators of the groups. A total of 1,500 posts were analyzed, including their threads properties. In addition, the Facebook profile of all the group members who had published these posts were analyzed for further information. The most popular topics of the posts were health (14.7%), motherhood (12.7%), relationships with partners (12%) and sexuality (9.3%). The majority (92%) of them included a positive message expressed by their author. Most of the posts (89%) included dialogical elements. Furthermore, in most (94%) of the posts, the authors' name, picture, and Facebook's full profile were overt. A positive correlation was found between the level of personal exposure and the depth of discourse that followed. We also found a negative correlation between the level of personal exposure in the group, and the number of friends on the user's page, a possible indication of the central role that these groups play in their users' lives.

Facebook-groups, Women, Online Communities
Technologies in Knowledge Sharing
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dana Weimann Saks

Lecturer, Communication, Yeezrel Valley College, Israel

Vered Elishar-Malka

Dr. Yaron Ariel

Lecturer, Yereel Valley College, Israel