Thanks to the miracle that is Facebook, we’ve got more friends, and we’re more easily connected to them than ever. We see their constant updates and achievements, and we support them by hitting that little “like” button that lets them know that we care just enough to do the bare minimum. Oh, and according to a recent study, roughly 97% of your Facebook friends couldn’t care less about you.
If you’ve never heard of Dunbar’s Number, it is the idea that we as humans can only maintain roughly 150 stable relationships at once. Well, Robin Dunbar (yes, the same Dunbar) is back with a new study centered around Facebook relationships. He studied nearly 3,400 Facebook users to determine how we interact with people on the social networking site, and the results aren’t favorable, but ultimately not that surprising.
The study found that the average person has 155.2 Facebook friends. You’d think that according to Dunbar’s Number, nearly all of them would be good friends. However, when studying the reaction to an “emotional crisis,” only 4.1 of those Facebook friends could be counted on. And only 13.6 Facebook BFF’s will express any form of sympathy for friends who are dealing with difficult issues.
Basically, the study told us that in order to maintain friendships, we’re going to have to do more than just “like” statuses and leave the yearly “happy birthday!!!” message on peoples’ walls. It’s not exactly shocking new information, but it is a tad depressing when a scientific study shows how few online friends actually care.