Coming to America: Iranians' use of Telegram for immigration information seeking

Abstract

Purpose This study examines Iran-US migrants’ use of the most popular messaging application in Iran—Telegram—and shows how they use it to manage their migration information practices.Design/methodology/approach This study took a qualitative observation approach. Over the course of six months, over 80 h of observations were conducted on Iran-US migration-related settings within Telegram.Findings This work identifies the information practices that emerge as users seek and share information related to Iran-US migration. Telegram plays a vital role across the immigration stages, predominantly in the pre-migration stage. This work also shows how the constraints and features of Telegram influence users’ information sharing and seeking practices.Practical implications The findings support the implication that a social media platform that provides multiple ways to interact is likely to better support niche or unanticipated uses.Originality/value This study is the first of its kind to explore Iranian Immigrants information practices in the US. The immigration information practices observed during this study represent a valuable example of end-user appropriation within extraordinary constraints, which may be of use in other information-seeking contexts where dedicated or bespoke tools are impractical or ill-advised.

Publication
Aslib Journal of Information Management