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



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.


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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). Retrieved from