Virtually local: social media and community among Polish nationals in Dublin

Lee Komito (School of Information and Library Studies, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Jessica Bates (School of Information and Library Studies, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Publication date: 22 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of social media (including social networking technologies) on migration strategies and integration, focusing on the use of new technologies for information seeking and dissemination, as well as personal communication.


A total of 26 Polish nationals resident in Ireland were interviewed in 2008, using semi‐structured interviews.


Results indicated a significant use of new social media, especially social networking technologies based in Poland and largely used by Polish language speakers. The use of social networking technologies enabled “media rich” and resilient social groups to develop, founded on the latent monitoring of activities characteristic of face‐to‐face, geographically delimited communities. The resulting social groups incorporated friends and relations based in Poland, Ireland and throughout the world. These networks tended to minimize integration into Irish society, as most Polish nationals interacted only with other Polish people, whether resident in Ireland or elsewhere.


This research demonstrates that new technologies are having a significant impact on patterns of migration. New social media are changing the character of international migration, with an emphasis on mobility rather than assimilation. Where foreign nationals previously tended to integrate into the societies where they resided, migrants are now more likely to be peripatetic mobile workers. Furthermore, while these migrants often no longer live in physical ghettos, they now live in “virtual” ghettos or enclaves, as they use new technologies to create separate lives within the wider society in which they work and live.



Komito, L. and Bates, J. (2009), "Virtually local: social media and community among Polish nationals in Dublin", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 61 No. 3, pp. 232-244.

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