Utilizing social media for social work intervention: Insights from clients in online youth services

Chitat Chan, Steven Sek Yum Ngai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored and conceptualised service users’ experiences in online outreach projects supported by the Hong Kong SAR government. Fifteen active users were interviewed. The study used thematic analysis to explore service users’ experiences that might not have been possible without technology. Participant utterances were non-mutually-exclusively tagged with a specific theme. Each utterance reflected an aspect of user experience which combined a technical component with a service-need component. Six themes were identified, including: (i) Personalised newsfeeds help identify service information and news, (ii) Online status indicators improve service accessibility, (iii) Online communications enable a disinhibition effect, (iv) Asynchronous communications facilitate continual feedback loops, (v) Incomplete communicative modalities may cause misunderstanding and (vi) Asynchronous communication may disrupt conversations. The findings reveal that there are middle-level concepts between broad social work concepts and ever-changing technology. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • affordance
  • hidden youth
  • outreach
  • Social media
  • social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Drug guides


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