Final Project (Fall 2016) – Social Networking and Communications Within the Context of Immigrants, by Sue Kang and Dominique Linton

This communication for international development project we focused on the significance of social networking and communications for the community of immigrants in Hawaii. The project is divided into three separate sections. First, discussed is what social networking is and its importance, second is what forms a social network and the third section is about social networking in the context of Hawaii.
In our research, we find that a social support network is on the most valuable assets to an immigrant family and member of society that is an immigrant. With the support system in the form of a social network, the economic well-being of an immigrant is supported through a wide range of positive factors such as better employment opportunities, a positive home life, social engagement and more. Some hardships to consider that can hinder progression are racial abuse, discrimination, communication (official and informal), and ability to interact and navigate societal norms. This is why solid social networking is important to immigrants in today’s society. We concentrated on the communication barriers they faced and gathered that there was a lack of awareness and access to formal way of social networking, language was not necessarily a barrier when it came to social media and other forms of digital communication when building a social network and social networking was crucial to this community.
When discussing what forms a social network, most studies identified family of both nuclear and extended members. Other cases with formal sources of support were considered also including community agencies or healthcare professionals. Social networks play a variety of roles that can help an individual encompassing the providing of resources like food, housing, financial support, etc. These necessities are crucial to an immigrant who is setting up a new life. Another major component we considered was social capital and whether or not that was a key concern. Because social capital can facilitate social mobility and provide access to resources, this is crucial because social capital is context based.
Our last section of the project we conducted five interviews with immigrants from different countries and are permanently residing in Hawaii. We made sure to keep in mind that in the Hawaiian context, an immigrant is one that identifies as one. We made sure to ask all interviewed in our research whether they identified as an immigrant before we conducted an interview to make sure there was no offence caused. We focused on questions that were about social networking, whether being an immigrant hindered their ability to communicate with their social network, and whether or not their outlook on social network changed after becoming an immigrant and how social media helped their social network.
In conclusion we assembled that, social networking is crucial to the underserved community of immigrants. All participants understood the necessity of having a social network and the benefits they received from it. Their social network helped them navigate a new language, new ways to communicate and helped them with gaining their social capital.


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