Working paper abstract

#2013-068

Social Media and Migration Research

Elaine McGregor & Melissa Siegel

The use of internet technologies in daily life has risen dramatically in recent years, increasing researchers' interest in how social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are changing social realities and potentially facilitating innovative research methodologies. As technology and migration are considered prominent drivers of the globalization processes, the increasing interest of migration researchers is unsurprising. Nevertheless, given the relative youth of research in this field, approaches to the topic differ. By taking a step back and viewing the literature from a wide range of disciplines, this paper provides a broad overview of the current state of research on migration and social media in four key areas: 1) the use of social media to trigger and facilitate migration in both positive (networks) and negative ways (human trafficking); 2) the role of social media and migrant integration; 3) the use of social media in diaspora engagement; and 4) the use of social media in conducting migration research. This paper adds to the literature by being the first systematic review of the topic.

Key words: Social Media, Migration Research, Social Networking Sites, Diaspora Engagement, Integration, Facilitation of Migration

JEL Classification: F22, O15, O33, L86, L82, Q55