The ‘new frontier’: Emergent Indigenous identities and social media


The rapid rise in the use of social media as a means of cultural and social interaction among Aboriginal people and groups is an intriguing development. It is a phenomenon that has not yet gained traction in academia, although interest is gaining momentum as it becomes apparent that the use of social media is becoming an everyday, typical activity. In one episode of Living Black (an Australian television show featuring stories of interest to Indigenous people) entitled ‘‘Cyber Wars’’ (April 19th, 2010), several Aboriginal people commented on their Facebook use. Allan Clarke, one of the Aboriginal Facebook users featured, stated that, ‘‘It’s an intrinsic part of our daily routine….’’ My recently completed doctoral research52 reveals that Aboriginal people are active participants on social media sites and in particular on Facebook. In the course of my study, I conducted a content analysis of open Facebook pages that are popular with Aboriginal users, and being an avid Facebook user myself, I was able to navigate through many open pages and explore the activities taking place. In terms of self-representation, the findings from my research reveal that Facebook is becoming a popular vehicle amongst Aboriginal people, to build, display, and perform Aboriginal identities (Lumby 2010). Many Aboriginal Facebook users treat this site as a key self-representational tool to communicate their Aboriginal identity to other social media users in online communities (generally other Aboriginal people or Aboriginal groups)

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