Social media, cultural heritage and migrant communities in a globalized world
AbstractTHIRD CULTURE KIDS (TCKs) AND THEIR USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA The open nature of social media enables the potential of new decentralized and less hierarchical social structures and promotes new dynamics of social and cultural practices. These new technologies can foster the perception among people that they belong to a larger community by virtue of the identity they share online rather than to where they physically lived or culturally belong. In this sense, social media is increasingly playing a key role in enabling collective identity, a sense of community, and supporting collective cultural creation among citizens across the globe. The potential for online community creativity is relevant for migrant communities to whom social media is actually becoming a distinctive arena of social life. Accordingly, we argue that it serves as sources of community building among people with social and cultural affinities but with restricted possibilities of offline meetings. Considering this framing, we are exploring these circumstances among one of the most globalized migrant community: the Third Cultural Kids (TCKs), a migrant community spread globally who are not culturally defined by their passport, family background, origin and nationality, or their cultural affiliations, but by their multicultural rootless and restlessness regarding personal traditional personal identity issues (Pollock and Reken, 2009; Bell-Villada and Sichel, 2011). As a global nomad community, they take fully advantage of Web 2.0 media, not only to “feel connected to the world” and to “be connected between them”, but basically to acknowledge and build their sense of community. The material posted in social media is thus a source of information on TCK’s personal and social self- perceptions, interesting enough to be analyzed by any researcher who wishes to relate their personal and collective experiences into cultural identity issues. Most of these materials are personal narrations/accounts and but by applying qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques we are exploring the possibilities of identifying familiarities, similarities and patterns from which we can create a vivid picture of the on-going construction of this community identity. This initial step seems fundamental to us if one thinks of creating digital tools with features that are in line with the characteristics of this community. More specifically, our current research is framed in accordance with the following research questions:
- How can we help reinforce the sense of identity of this group by fostering ways to build a stronger online community using social media? What particular features should the digital networking tools possess in order to support the creation and maintaining of this community?
- What public spaces are relevant for this particular community and in what ways can these be enhanced with digital technologies to promote communication? Are location-based services a possible technological solution? How can location based services be designed in order to connect TCKs and their meaningful places?
- Explore the design space of digital networking tools to help create and maintain a thriving TCKs online community.
- Explore to what extent it is possible to infuse public places with appropriate digital technologies that foster further engagement with this community and between members of the community.
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