Some studies suggest that social media encourage interethnic contact by removing social and spatial boundaries between ethnic communities while offering new spaces for communication and redefinition of ethnic identities. Others contend that social media add an online dimension to intra-ethnic bonding, either within the ethnic community or transnationally. This paper aims to understand such mixed findings by contextualising under what circumstances social media facilitate bridging and bonding behaviours. We conducted 52 semi-structured interviews with second-generation migrant youth in Rotterdam to inquire about their motivations and considerations concerning social media use. Results show that social media offer a new space for different orientations of interethnic contact. Interethnic contact as such is rarely deliberately pursued online but it is often constituted in venues organised around common interests. Engagement in intra-ethnic online communities is motivated by struggles with identity and lifestyle. Migrant youth's online and offline lives are very much integrated and online communication deals with very similar complexities as offline interactions.

, , , , , , ,,
Journal of Intercultural Studies
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Dekker, R, Belabas, W, & Scholten, P.W.A. (2015). Interethnic Contact Online: Contextualising the Implications of Social Media Use by Second-Generation Migrant Youth. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 36(4), 450–467. doi:10.1080/07256868.2015.1049981