Digital social work practice through social networking sites. Case study with users of Social Services Community Centre from Malaga (Spain) on Facebook

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1921/gpwk.v29i3.1373

Abstract

Isolation is a clear indicator of social exclusion. To tackle it, we wondered if it would be possible to improve digital skills and strengthen bonds through online groups on a social networking site. This paper presents the results of an experimental study carried out in Malaga (Spain) with unemployed users of social care services. From the perspective of social work practice with groups, this study aims at strengthening bonds and mutual help through improving digital skills. This was carried out using a Facebook group as a shared space for community empowerment. To know the impact of these interactions, netnography and social network analysis were conveyed, as well as algorithms to identify communities and assess cohesion. Results showed that Facebook groups may be effective tools to promote active learning and mutual support and which can be used effectively by social workers.

Author Biographies

Joaquin Castillo de Mesa, University of Málaga (Spain)

He is an associate professor PhD on Social Work at the University of Málaga (Spain) since 2010 and a member of Research Group of Quality of Life and Community and Organizational Intervention. He has been a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, and at Anglia Ruskin University. His publications include analysis of social innovations, detection of communities, mining data from Big Social Data and combining social network analysis with different algorithms for applying the results to social work practice. 

Antonio López Peláez, Department of Social Work of National Distance Education University (Spain).

He is University Full Professor of Social Work and Social Services at the Department of Social Work of UNED. PhD in Philosophy and Sociology. Among his research interests:  analysis of social problems of interculturality, methods of social intervention, intersections of new technologies and social work. He has been visiting scholar at the School of Social Welfare (University of California, Berkeley, USA), Universidad Americana (Managua, Nicaragua), and at the School of Social Work (Western Michigan University, USA). He is director of Comunitania. International Journal of Social Work and Social Sciences and member of the editorial board of prestigious journals in his field of research. He has published numerous books in prestigious academic publishers (Oxford University Press, Springer, Aranzadi, Tecnos, Espasa, Alianza, etc.) 

Paula Méndez Domínguez, University of Málaga (UMA)

PhD candidate in the Psychology Program of the University of Malaga. His research line, Digital Social Work Practice. Graduated in Social Work and Master in Social and Community Intervention and Research. His scientific interest and work have to do with those aspects related to information / communication technologies.

References

Addams, J. (1902). Democracy and social ethics. New York: Macmillan.

Arampatzi, E., Burger, M.J. & Novik, N. (2018). Social network sites, individual social capital and happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies, Vol. 19(1), pp. 99-122. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9808-z

Arora, S., Ge, R., Sachdeva, S., & Schoenebeck, G. (2012). Finding overlapping communities in social networks: toward a rigorous approach. Proceedings of the 13th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, pp. 37-54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2229012.2229020

Bastian, M., Heymann, S., & Jacomy, M. (2009). Gephi: An Open Source Software for Exploring and Manipulating Networks. Third International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, pp. 361–362. https://doi.org/10.1136/qshc.2004.010033

Bohnert, D., & Ross, W. H. (2010). The influence of social networking web sites on the evaluation of job candidates. Cybertechnology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Vol.13, pp. 1–7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2009.0193

Brandes, U. (2001). A faster algorithm for betweenness centrality. Journal of mathematical sociology. Vol. 25. Issue 2, pp. 163-177. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0022250X.2001.9990249

Bruggeman, J. (2016). The strength of varying tie strength: Comment on Aral and Van Alstyne. American Journal of Sociology, 121(6), 1919–1930. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/686267

Burke, M., Marlow, C., & Lento, T. (2010). Social network activity and social well-being. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp. 1909-1912. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1753326.1753613

Burke, M., & Kraut, R. E. (2016). The relationship between Facebook use and well-being depends on communication type and tie strength. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol. 21(4), pp. 265-281. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcc4.12162

Burt, R. S. (2005). Brokerage and closure. An introduction to social capital. New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1007/s13398-014-0173-7.2

Castillo De Mesa, J., Gómez Jacinto, L., López Peláez, A., & Palma García, M. D. L. O. (2019). Building relationships on social networking sites from a social work approach. Journal of Social Work Practice, Vol. 33(2), pp. 201–215. https://doi.org/10.1080/02650533.2019.1608429

Chan, C., & Holosko, M. J. (2020). Utilizing youth media practice to influence change: A pretest–Posttest study. Research on Social Work Practice, 30(1), 110-121. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1049731519837357

Collins, N. L., & Miller, L. C. (1994). Self-disclosure and liking: a meta-analytic review. Psychological bulletin, Vol. 116(3), pp. 457. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.116.3.457

Cottam, H. (2015). Hillary Cottam: Social Services are broken [video file]. Retrieved at 15 march, 2019 from: https://www.ted.com/talks/hilary_cottam_social_services_are_broken_how_we_can_fix_them?language=es

Correa, T. (2016). Digital skills and social media use: how Internet skills are related to different types of Facebook use among ‘digital natives’. Information, Communication & Society, 19(8), 1095-1107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2015.1084023

Del Fresno García, M. (2015). Connecting the Disconnected: Social Work and Social Network Analysis. A Methodological Approach to Identifying Network Peer Leaders. Arbor, Vol. 191, 771, e209. http://dx.doi.org/10.3989/arbor.2015.771n1011

Del Fresno García, M., Daly, A. J., & Segado Sánchez-Cabezudo, S. (2016). Identifying the new Influences in the Internet Era: Social Media and Social Network Analysis. Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas, Vol.153. pp. 23-40. http://dx.doi.org/10.5477/cis/reis.153.23

DiMaggio, P., Hargittai, E., Celeste, C., & Shafer, S. (2004). From unequal access to differentiated use: A literature review and agenda for research on digital inequality. Social inequality, 1, 355-400.

Drumm, K. (2006). The Essential Power of Group Work. Social Work with Groups, Vol. 29, 2-3, pp. 17-31, http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J009v29n02_02

Duncan, D. G., & Barczyk, C. C. (2013). Facebook in the university classroom: do students perceive that it enhances community of practice and sense of community? International Journal of Business and Social Science, Vol. 4(3), pp.1-14

Ellison, N.B., Steinfield, C. & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol. 12(4), pp. 1143–1168.

https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00367.x

Ellison, N.B., Steinfield, C. & Lampe, C. (2011). Connection Strategies: Social Capital Implications of Facebook-enabled Communication Practices. New Media & Society Vol. 13(6), pp. 873–892. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444810385389

Freeman, L. C. (1978). Centrality in social networks conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1(3), 215–239. https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-8733(78)90021-7

Garvin, C. (2001). The potential impact of small-group research on social group work practice. In Kelly, T., Berman-Rossi, T., Palombo, S. (Eds.). Group work: Strategies for strengthening resiliency. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc., pp.

Giffords, E. D. (2009). The Internet and Social Work: The Next Generation. Families in society: the journal of contemporary human services. Vol. 90 (4), pp. 413-418. https://doi.org/10.1606/1044-3894.3920

Gillingham, P. (2016). Technology configuring the user: Implications for the redesign of electronic information systems in social work. British Journal of Social Work, 46 (2) 323-338. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcu141

Girvan, M., & Newman, M. E. (2002). Community structure in social and biological networks. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 99(12), 7821-7826. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.122653799

Gitterman, A. (2003). The meaning, scope, and context of the concept of social justice in social work with groups. In Sullivan, N., Mesbur, E. S., Lang, N., Goodman, G., Mitchell, L. (Eds). Social work with groups: Social justice through personal, community and societal change. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc., pp. 25-34.

Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine.

Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6),

–1380. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/225469

Kluemper, D. & Rosen, P. (2009). Future employment selection methods: evaluating social net- working websites. Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 24(6), pp. 567–580.

Hargittai, E. (2005). Survey measures of web-oriented digital literacy. Social science computer review, 23(3), 371-379. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0894439305275911

Haythornthwaite, C. (2002) Strong, Weak, and Latent Ties and the Impact of New Media, The Information Society, 18:5, 385-401, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01972240290108195

Hine, C. (2005). Virtual Methods: Issues in Social Research on the Internet. Oxford: Berg.

Karl, K., Peluchette, J., & Schlaegel, C. (2010a). A cross-cultural examination of student attitudes and gender differences in Facebook profiles content. International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking, Vol. 2, pp.11–31.

Karl, K., Peluchette, J., & Schlaegel, C. (2010b). Who’s posting Facebook faux pas? A cross-cultural examination of personality differences. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, Vol. 18, 174–186.

Kozinets, R. V. (2015). Netnography: redefined. Thousands Oaks. CA: Sage

Kramer, A. D., Guillory, J. E., & Hancock, J. T. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 111 (24), pp. 8788-8790.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1320040111

Kim, J., & Lee, J. E. R. (2011). The Facebook paths to happiness: Effects of the number of Facebook friends and self-presentation on subjective well-being. CyberPsychology, behavior, and social networking, Vol. 14(6), pp. 359-364.

Lenette, C., Cox, L., & Brough, M. (2015). Digital storytelling as a social work tool: Learning from ethnographic research with women from refugee backgrounds. British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 45, pp. 988–1005. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bct184

Ling, R. S. (2004). The Mobile Connection: The Cell Phone’s Impact on Society. New York: Morgan Kaufman.

Maier, A. (2004). Technology-Mediated Groups. In Garvin, C. D., Gutiérrez, L. M., Galinsky, M. J. Handbook of Social Work with Groups. New York: The Guilford Press. pp. 479-504.

Manca, S., & Ranieri, M. (2013). Is it a tool suitable for learning? A critical review of the literature on Facebook as a technology‐enhanced learning environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Vol. 29(6), pp. 487-504. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12007

Manca, S., & Ranieri, M. (2016). Facebook and the others. Potentials and obstacles of social media for teaching in higher education. Computers & Education, Vol. 95, pp. 216-230. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.01.012

Meishar-Tal, H., Kurtz, G., & Pieterse, E. (2012). Facebook groups as LMS: A case study. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Vol. 13(4), pp. 33-48. http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v13i4.1294

Maya-Jariego, I., & Holgado, D. (2015). Network analysis for social and community interventions. Psychosocial Interventions, Vol. 24, pp. 121–124.

National Digital Inclusion Alliance. (2016). NDIA definitions. Retrieved at 2019, 19 May from http://www.digitalinclusionalliance.org/definitions

Northen, H. (1987). Selection of groups as the preferred modality of practice. In J. Lassner, K. Powell, and Finnegan, E. (Eds.). Social group work: Competence and values in practice. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc., pp. 19-34.

Northen, H. and Kurland, R. (2001). Social work with groups. (3rd ed.) New York: Columbia University Press.

Quan-Haase, A. & Wellman, B. (2004) How does the Internet affect social capital? In Huysman, M. & Wulf, V. (eds.) Social Capital and Information Technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 113–135.

Quan-Haase, A., Mo, G.Y. & Wellman. B. (2017). Connected seniors: how older adults in East York exchange social support online and offline. Information, Communication & Society, Vol. 20(7), pp. 967-983. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1305428

Reamer, F. G. (2013). Social work in a digital age: Ethical and risk management challenges. Social work. Vol. 58 (2), pp. 163-172. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sw/swt003

Robles Morales, J. M., Antino, M., De Marco, S., & Lobera, J. A. (2016). The new frontier of digital inequality. The participatory divide. Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas (REIS), Vol. 156), pp. 97-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.5477/cis/reis.156.97

Rozzell, B., Piercy, C. W., Carr, C. T., King, S., Lane, B. L., Tornes, M., ... & Wright, K. B. (2014). Notification pending: Online social support from close and nonclose relational ties via Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 38, pp. 272-280. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.06.006

Schwartz, W. (1971). On the use of groups in social work practice. In W. Schwartz and Z.R. Zalba (Eds.). The practice of group work. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 3-24.

Shaffer, J.B.P. & Galinsky, M. D. (1989). Models of group therapy (2nd ed.). Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Shulman, L. (1999). The skills of helping individuals, families, groups and communities. (4th ed.). Itsaca, IL: F.E.Peacock Publishers, Inc.

Solberg, L. B. (2010). Data Mining on Facebook: A Free Space for Researchers or an IRB Nightmare? Journal of Law, Technology & Policy, Vol. 2010 (2), pp. 311–343.

Steinberg, D.M. (1993). Some findings from a study on the impact of group work education on social practitioners’ work with groups. Social Work with Groups, Vol. 16 (3), pp. 23-39.

Valente, T.W. (2012). Network interventions. Science, Vol. 337(6090), pp. 49-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1217330

Valles, M. S. (2000). La grounded theory y el análisis cualitativo asistido por ordenador. En El análisis de la realidad social. Métodos y técnicas de investigación, Madrid: Alianza, pp. 575-604.

Van Dijk, J. (2006). Digital Divide Research, Achievements and Shortcomings. Poetics, 34(4), 221-235. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2006.05.004

Watts, D. (2003). Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (Book). Journal of Marketing, Vol. 68(1), pp. 166–167. Retrieved at 18 March, 2018 from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=11925062&site=ehost-live

Wellman, B., Haase, A.Q., Witte, J., & Hampton, K. (2001). Does the internet increase, decrease, or supplement social capital? Social networks, participation, and community commitment. American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 45(3), pp 436–455. https://doi.org/10.1177/00027640121957286

Woolcock, M. & Narayan, D. (2000). Social capital: Implications for development theory, research, and policy. The world bank research observer, Vol. 15(2), pp. 225-249. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/wbro/15.2.225

Whyte, W. F. (1943). Street corner society; the social structure of an Italian slum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Wilson, R. E., Gosling, S. D., & Graham, L. T. (2012). A Review of Facebook Research in the Social Sciences. Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 7(3), pp. 203–220. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691612442904

Wright, K. B., & Bell, S. B. (2003). Health-related support groups on the Internet: Linking empirical findings to social support and computer-mediated communication theory. Journal of Health Psychology, Vol. 8, pp. 39-54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1359105303008001429

Published

2021-08-31

How to Cite

Castillo de Mesa, J., López Peláez, A., & Méndez Domínguez, P. (2021). Digital social work practice through social networking sites. Case study with users of Social Services Community Centre from Malaga (Spain) on Facebook. Groupwork, 29(3). https://doi.org/10.1921/gpwk.v29i3.1373

Issue

Section

Articles