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Culture and Gender in Online Social Networks in Saudi Arabia- A Case Study

Abstract

The ‘Arabic Spring’ of 2011 ushered in a period of vast use of social media channels in the Middle East, during which Arabic women promoted their rights. Although politics is a strong motivator, little research has been done on social values in that context. Thus, this study looks at and explores the extent to which Middle Eastern women use Twitter to declare their entitlements and accountabilities in civic society. Here, mixed methods have been applied. The results indicate a genderized dominance within Twitter’s online community and interesting issues of nationalisms and global conventions were discussed. Extreme and unexpected cases triggered strong support from both genders, and these cases made a difference in male support of women’s cases regarding their impulsive and none-impulsive declaration of opinions. In this context, questions have been raised as to how safe Twitter is for women in segregated domains, and how change can take place within and among different online societies regardless of gender.