How do you build a social circle network

Definition The term social network describes a network of relationships that connects people with other people and institutions as well as institutions with other institutions. People are networked with one another, for example through relationships in family and relatives, but also with the neighborhood and in the world of work.

The term social network has found widespread use in social work. This is due to its versatile applicability. It is suitable for theoretical analysis, but can also be used for diagnostic purposes (diagnosis) or to represent support structures. In connection with this term, further technical terms such as network approach, network work, network promotion or network analysis have developed. Social workers and social educators are also referred to as networkers when they promote and support social networks.

The following distinctions apply to social networks:

  • primary or personal networks. This refers to networks in the family and relatives, neighborly networks and friendly, i.e. self-chosen networks. But age-specific, women-specific or job-specific networks are also included;
  • secondary or social networks. These include institutional networks such as craft businesses, insurance companies, department stores, industrial companies and public infrastructure facilities such as kindergartens, schools, universities, social services, transport systems;
  • tertiary networks. They are located between the primary and secondary networks and have a mediating function. These are groups of self-help, citizens' initiatives and professional services such as nursing services, health advice or social work facilities.

Social networks offer practical, emotional and cognitive support in stressful and crisis situations. Social workers and social pedagogues try to influence networks so that they are accessible to people who do not or not yet manage to do so on their own. By networking the social services with self-help groups, associations and various experts at regional and supraregional level, the range of services can be increased overall and made more effectively accessible.