Given an emerging literature within the Information Systems (IS) field in the role of technology in social (in)justice and forced migration, in this research-in-progress paper we present preliminary findings from a longitudinal study with Syrian refugees (2018–present), which aims to understand the role of technology in refugees’ journeys from departure to destination. Our findings are articulated across three phases: in Phase 1, involving interviews with refugees sheltered in Greece, we found that social media played an important role during early stages of refugee journeys, mainly for information purposes. In Phase 2, drawing on social media data, we discovered a range of uses of social media within the refugee community, surfacing a hidden and largely unrecognised ‘hybrid community’—in-person and virtual—of refugees. In Phase 3, which is currently being developed, the concept of a ‘hybrid community’ is being explored in relation to diverse patterns of technology use by refugees. Our analysis reveals three stages of social media use related to hybrid communities—pre-departure, while on the move, and post-arrival—showing that hybrid communities take a different form over time as per the different uses of social media at different stages.
Chamakiotis, Petros; Masiero, Silvia; and Aljabr, Njod, "The Shifting Role of Social Media throughout Refugee Journeys" (2022). MCIS 2022 Proceedings. 17.