"A whole new world": The Influence of Social Media on Migration Aspirations in Morocco

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The current study discusses the influence of social media on migration aspirations in Morocco. Social media have changed the way that people keep in touch, have changed the way people gather information, and they have changed the way in which the world is perceived. It is thus crucial to understand how this interaction between social media and migration works. The current study shows that migration aspirations in Morocco are, on the one hand, influenced by its history. The countries’ history created a culture in which migration is expected of young men, and has created a network of friends and family living abroad. On the other hand, migration aspirations in Morocco are stimulated by social media platforms. Through the geographical imaginations approach, it is shown that these platforms offer deceptive information that stimulate thinking about the good in other places. This image of a wonderful life abroad is compared to the more complete knowledge of bad circumstances in Morocco. Participants thus often had a romanticised idea of other countries. This was caused by information gathering through visual applications like YouTube. The study argues that internet capital should be taken into consideration when studying migration decision-making. The study also argues that latent ties on the internet should be understood as more than direct contacts. Latent ties are also the people that create YouTube videos and talk about their lives, and Instagram influencers that show their wonderful lives. The different application seem to have their own influence on migration aspirations and imagined geographies, so the study also argues for more research into differences between social media applications.
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