Exploring the affordances of popular private Facebook groups for women-only in Egypt
In Egypt, the creation and usage of private Facebook groups for women-only is vastly popular. Despite scholarship on women’s social media use, research examining the emergence of online women communities, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa region, is scarce. This article draws upon a case study of five popular Facebook groups for women-only to explore how and for what reasons their Facebook group creators and members are using these Facebook groups. It uses the conceptual framework of Affordances to account for the mutual influence of the Facebook groups’ structure, their users’ perceptions, and social context. Results show that Facebook group creators and members perceive Facebook groups as safe spaces to express their personal and social distresses due to their privacy and exclusivity to women. These collective experiences have led to the manifestation of these Facebook groups as self-care spaces where FB group creators provide their members with information and entertainment to improve their health and well-being. In sum, this article contributes to scholarship on digital media engagement by empirically illustrating how social media users draw on social, cultural, and structural resources to make sense of their usage of particular social media platforms.
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