Social Networking Services, Inequality, Digital Habitus
Online resources in the job market play an ambivalent role that ought to be empirically clarified. While they could be seen as way to even out the imbalance of social capital among different social groups, they can produce new axes of inequality among job seekers. Do young Spanish people use social networking services when looking for a job? In societies like Spain, where online services are widespread, the digital gap might not only be cultural but also social. Optimistic views claim that technology and social networking sites will eventually substitute the governmental agencies of employement as well as family, friends and colleagues. Private HHRR departments such as Adecco (2014) reports on the increasing role of social networking services for job seekers. But data is a commodity like anything else that can be traded and assembled (Savage et al, 2013). Our study includes face-to-face surveys about the personal networks of young people from Barcelona that are either working or looking for a job. Our claim is that the use of online services ought to intensify the compositional features of personal networks. Inequalities come with uneven distributions of social, cultural and economic capital in the social structure (Bourdieu, 1998; Brynjolfsson & MacAfee, 2014). The digital gap (Castells, 2002; Castaño, 2008) puts forward the differences in access and use of digital tools. Robinson’s (2009), Hargittai (2010) and others have analyzed Internet use as potentially capital-enhancing activity, examining digital literacy (Lareau, 2011). Still, the heterogeneity in social interactions in the UK bring about an inversion of the digital divide (Mayo & Nairn, 2009). Sennett (2012) comments on this new form of inequality that adds on to income or knowledge inequality. Our questionnaire to youth living in Spain, from 20 to 34 years of age, asks for the type and effective use of the interviewees’ personal network, the resources involved, and their degree of success in finding a job. The interviewee reconstructs her past with the physical aid of a longitudinal life grid on paper. Finally, a short qualitative interview at the end captures their view on their work-related decisions taken so far. Our methodological stance is to make explicit the bidirectional transfers between qualitative and quantitative data. Our results showcase that structural factors such as cultural capital shape the young workers' choices. Use seem to depend, first, on occupation and qualification, and second, on composition of their personal networks. Moreover, the use of social networking job services is not homogeneous. And they might only be effective for a small subset of personal networks with high educational status. In all, the digital habitus of Spanish youth but also the composition of their social capital shape their degree of sucess in finding a job through online services. This presentation spawns from the “Social Networks as a Resource and Mechanism for Spanish Youth in looking and finding a job”, a R+D for the Spanish Ministry of Economy CSO02012- 36055 2012- 2015.