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Are your Facebook friends really friends?


Are your Facebook friends really friends?

Social networking giant Facebook has once again been the focus of another study. This particular analysis conducted research into how many contacts a user can rely on in their time of need.

A recent study has revealed that only a small number of contacts on your Facebook friends list can actually live up to the title of ‘friend’. Research conducted by Professor Robin Dunbar at Oxford University has found that the average user of the social network has around 155 friends. The study also found that women tend to have more contacts than men.

As part of the research, Professor Dunbar and his team questioned more than 3,000 people aging between 18-65 to record statistics that show that although it may appear that a user is popular, in reality, their droves of ‘friends’ are often just acquaintances acquired over a period of time.

Of the average 155 friends a user has, only 28% of these contacts are actually considered to be genuine friends, and furthermore, just 3% of connections are described as reliable and could be counted on in an emergency or crisis. This averages out to around four people per user.

Professor Dunbar concluded that the only way to maintain genuine bonds with your friends is to meet face to face on a regular basis, and to use social media as a tool to assist the maintenance of these bonds.

American network Facebook currently has in excess of 1.4 billion active users, and in the UK more than 34 million people use it every day for one purpose or another, whether that is to send a message to one of their close friends, upload photos to enhance the life they portray online or update their status to let all of their casual acquaintances know that they’re checking into a bar or the airport.

Facebook and other social media platforms are becoming used more and more in the world of business, as well as for personal use. Many companies are now setting up pages devoted to their business so that they can keep up to date with the latest happenings of clients, colleagues, and even competitors on another level to those important face-to-face interactions already shared.

Having an online presence on a social media site can either be beneficial to a company or prove to be hindrance, depending on how the business conducts itself online. Digital agencies such as Engage Web are devoted to compiling and executing a range of social media strategies to help companies ensure their social media campaigns have a positive effect on the business in question.

Alan Littler

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