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Social capital is one’s ability to use their social relationships for productive benefits in their lives, as defined by Social Capital Research. A recent study published in Future Internet discovers how African-Americans use social networks to promote their own social capital and economic mobility.

If you can effectively use your friendships and acquaintances to enhance your career and livelihood, you have powerful social capital. Unfortunately, blacks are disadvantaged in the social capital aspect; their networking with potential employers falls short compared to whites. This is a topic we touched on earlier this month, with our writer saying:

As Ditomaso points out in the piece when you are poor and black, you tend to only network with other poor and black folks, which means that the odds that your network would be able to connect you to the right opportunities, particularly ones that will enable you not to be poor anymore, are relatively slim. To Ditomaso’s point, connections are how most folks nowadays get jobs. That’s because the vast majority of job openings are not advertised – or at least not the good ones. And the only way to tap into the underground job market is if you, for the lack of a better term, have a hook-up.

Researchers delved into two reasons why African Americans have less productive professional relationships than whites. The first reason is fear that the job referral may disappoint the boss; one’s reputation is at stake. Secondly, studies have shown that black managers at Fortune 500 companies simply possess less clout than white managers.

The study indicates that African Americans can use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote their name and increase the likelihood of socio-economic mobility. In interviewing about 2,250 African Americans, the researchers concluded that the use of social networking can make up for the lack of social capital accrued by Blacks. African Americans are 44 percent more likely than whites to have more than one profile, which can increase one’s potential of meeting beneficial business contacts and promoting one’s brand.

Ultimately, the study focuses on how blacks can use an online platform to mitigate offline inequality. To increase your personal brand using social networks, check out our useful tips on enhancing your online profile.

Are you using Facebook and Twitter to bolster your career?

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