Original scientific paper
Diaspora Communities in Cyberspace: Virtual Identities of Croatian Ethnic Communities in Chile and Argentine
The Croatian diaspora have created a new form of sociability - ethnic gathering, communication and interaction in virtual space - using the new communication tools of the internet. In this way, they have produced new forms of social communities and collective identity - the so called virtual diaspora communities and virtual diaspora identities.
In this paper a popular social network – Facebook - was chosen to explore the identity of HVSN, (Croatian virtual social network) via a search engine tool selecting the communities classified in the following categories: Croatians in Chile/Croatians in Argentina.
We conducted online field research with participation as to to collect data on HVDZ in Chile and Argentina in multiple locations within cyberspace (social networks). The netographic method (the study of the behavior of online communities and cultures where we are both members of the community and researchers) was chosen, alongside a qualitative-interpretative approach in processing / data analysis. From the position of being both a researcher and participant within the community, we selected a description of the symbolic dimension of the cultural practices of the HVDZ. The connection between off-line and on-line space was outlined where the real life of the emigrant /diaspora community becomes public in virtual space. as well as the dynamics of translocal and transnational HVDZ practices that became available and, on a daily basis through the computer-based communication, also become visible.
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