My Virtual Best Friend: Online Forums for Women in the U.S. and Russia
Online forums range from casual get-together places to vital social support systems. This study aimed to provide a cross-cultural comparison of women’s virtual forums built around popular magazines, websites, and portals in the U.S. and Russia. Analysis focused on the structure and functions of these forums, as well as the distribution of posts across the categories of work, finances, shopping, politics, family, children, health and recreation, entertainment, relationships, and spirituality. Results revealed a great degree of commonality in topics and discussion issues. Overall, web forums provide important channels of communication for women in both societies. American women are more likely to be engaged in political and civic discourse and tend to use forums to explore career opportunities. In Russia, women join virtual clubs primarily to share personal experiences and gain access to social support networks.
Keywords: Online, Forums, Women, Social Support
Dr. Tatyana Dumova
Assistant Professor, School of Communication, University of North Dakota