Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Social Media and Brain Drain

My bit of blogging expertise is brain drain. Why do the talented leave home and what do they do once they leave? The Emigrant Advice Network (Éan) is a service for those who leave Ireland. Providing assistance for those who go elsewhere for economic opportunity might sound crazy. But it is actually a brilliant strategy.

Migrants just don't pick up and go anywhere. They tend to follow established pathways. Typically, the brain drain leads to a small group of places and expatriates pool together. With advances in communication technologies, the call abroad is much stronger and more efficient (hat tip Éan):

As I travel round Ireland, I will be told that the boom has changed the country forever and, what with modern air travel, the exodus this time will be temporary. Yet technology, in the form of Facebook and Skype, is a powerful new agent in the emptying of villages. "Those who go are in contact with the lads back home," Michael says. "They are telling us what a good time they are having, asking, 'What's keeping you?'." The network that has always been so important in Ireland - ties of kinship and geography - now sucks the young away.

Another exodus of young adults is underway in Ireland. While it is true that social media websites make out-migrating easier, these tools also smooth the way for return and help expatriates keep track of what is going on at home. Big things are brewing in Greater Youngstown. What's keeping you?

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