Differences in demographic, social, and economic circumstances between countries are strong reasons for people to migrate. The advances in communications technology have opened up opportunities for people to migrate. Technology has made it easier for migrants to foster links with their next destination through internet media. Interactions within social networks make migration easier by reducing the costs and risks of moving. Patterns in social networks are formed based on similarity of local origin, kinship, neighborhoods and friendship.
Most migrants move to a country where they have family or friends who are already well established; this formed a network of migration. Network formation has encouraged migration in various ways. The social media speed up the process of network formation and migration. Migrants communicate with more modern internet technology. Thanks to this communication, migrants will better understand the prospective destination so as to prepare for the migration process more carefully.
International high skilled migrant used social media to gain information about the countries of destination. Social media is used to establish long distance friendship. Friendship network were significant factor of mobility of student migrant (Brooks and Waters, 2010). The friendship connection rarely in a direct way, so social media facilitated this connection. Friends of the student migrant, mostly in destination countries, provides information of countries and institution or university. This can minimize student migrant’s fear of their destination countries. They can preparing themselves for the migration process.
In the migration process, social media is a tool to maintain social ties of migrant. Social media is not only a communication channels, but also facilities the process of migration. Dekker and Engberson (2012) argue that new communication channels opened by social media can transform migrant networks and thus facilitate migration through four key functions: (1) by strengthening strong ties with family and friends; (2) by creating weak ties to individuals that can assist in the process of migration (and integration); (3) by creating a network of latent ties; and (4) by creating a rich source of ‘insider knowledge’ on migration. Information from social media have an advantage because there are certain of various parties.
Migrants prefer migrate to the place where they already had contact and information. Migration network might become reason why people continue to migrate. In the literature of migration, the social media network is a strong ties (Granovetter, 1973) based on kinship,friendship or shared community origin, linking migrants and non-migrants (Massey, 1999). Social media can facilitate retained connections between migrants and their home (Diminescu, 2008). Migrant can use Facebook, as social media, to build connections with people they have met offline, and are less likely to use social media to establish new connections in their new destination (McGregor and Siegel, 2013). Informal networks help migrants to finance their travel, to find a job or accommodation (Haug, 2008).
Social media is a tool to consolidate the relationship between the migrant to the area of origin and destination. Today through social media can be obtained complete information, rich and accurate for instance on the labor market, legal conditions, and practical issues concerning migration. Social media allow the migrant to build a network with destinations that are rich in resources (Wellman, 1999). social media has an open nature and is not bound by certain rules. This makes social media have the advantage of disclosure when compared with the others official media. Through social media, migrants can obtain information informally even illegal information. It can be seen as a form of democratization of knowledge for migrants and also as a form of resistance against the regime of strict immigration (Scott, 1990).
Conclusion, the process of globalization will continue to bring significant implications on the upward trend in international migration. Globalization is often interpreted by the depletion process of national borders, because the world is getting connected and interdependence among countries is increasing. This process occurs as a result of a rapid increase in information technology, communication and transportation service which are getting better and affordable. Distribution of international migrants in the global era is expanding into many countries (spread across the borders) and migrant communities, in general, form bonds to more than one country (destination and origin) that is sometimes referred to as transnational migrants.
(Inayah Hidayati, Researcher of Migration in Research Center for Population LIPI)
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Haug, S. (2008). Migration networks and migration decision-making. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34(4), 585-605.
McGregor, E. and Siegel,M.(2012). Social Media and Migration Research. UNU-MERIT Working Papers. Germany : Maasterricht Graduate School of Governance.
Massey, D.S. (1999). International migration at the dawn of the twenty-first century: The role of the state. Population and Development Review, 25(2), 303-322.
Scott, J. C. (1990) Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Wellman, B. (1999) ‘From Little Boxes to Loosely Bounded Networks: The Privatization and Domestication of Communities’, in J. L. Abu-Lughod (ed.) Sociology for the Twenty- First Century. Continuities and Cutting Edge, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.