Based on my initial research it looks like Indigenous people use social media at a rate higher than non-Indigenous people, and this is the case right across the country. My research on social media, reveals that for most Indigenous people, social media is an everyday activity. For some, social media provides a way to learn and express their Indigenous identity in a safe space.
During my initial research, I’ve found some uniquely Indigenous activities on social media and while many non-Indigenous youths are dropping social media platforms like Facebook because their parents have profiles, Indigenous youth are actively engaging with older generations and maintaining intergenerational connections. In addition, my initial research is showing that older Indigenous are now reporting that social media provided them with cultural and family connectivity that they did not have before.
Social media has in many ways bridged distances and is, as the founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Barlow, suggests, a “world that is both everywhere and nowhere”. In this way, Indigenous populations worldwide are interacting online and supporting Indigenous issues and causes in a global collective. Given the similarities of experiences with colonization, Indigenous peoples can relate to, engage with and support each other on social media. However, research also confirms that the public can be traumatized by indirect exposure to certain events through social media.
For anyone interested in learning more about Indigenous people and trauma on social media, I have found two interesting articles. The first is a chapter in IndigenousX anthology titled, “#Overwhelmed: Juggling the stress and positive potential of social media IRL”, and the second, titled “Trauma, Shared Recognition and Indigenous Resistance on Social media” issue of the Australasian Journal of Information Systems. Food for thought!