Facebook: Friending, unfriending and being naked

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2010/10/13 · 20 comments 13,702 views

in a analytics smarter & actionable KPIs,white papers research

This blog post focuses on Facebook, social media monitoring, social media marketing and privacy issues, as well as relationships, friending and unfriending in cyberspace.

In a recent interview Phoebe Philo, Creative Director at Céline – part of the LVMH group, said she has not embraced social media. About using Facebook, she said,

Image - saying from Phoebe Philo - Creative Director at Céline - part of LVMH group - does not spend a lot of time hanging out online - has not embraced the virtual world the way some of her colleagues have - not on FacebookThen I came across some interesting research by Christopher Sibona about friending and unfriending people on Facebook.

Find out what I learned below and change your Facebook strategy accordingly.

The number one reason people dump friends on Facebook is because they get fed up with seeing too many useless posts.
Image - tweet by @ComMetrics stating  - 1st for France - court verdict 2010-10-01 of a 19 year old with several previous convictions. Road check: teen, high blood alcohol content: derides cops on #Facebook, Brest court: 3m jail +750Euro fine http://ad.vu/8tcx Prosecutor asked for 6 months jail term.
Posts about polarizing subjects such as politics and religion as well as inappropriate and racist comments also sever many Facebook relationships.

    What is the research about?

Ph.D. student Christopher Sibona recruited participants via Twitter asking them to fill out a survey. The questions focused on respondents’ online and offline behavior regarding friending and unfriending others on Facebook.

Check out the survey instrument: Facebook study: Usage and unfriending – online survey (data collection continues)

Data collection for the study mentioned in the press release was from April through September. There are some nice presentation slides about the results here:

    Update: Since the NYT choose to include the above link in one of their stories (online and in print on October 24, 2010, on page ST6 of the New York edition), we removed the slides. If you wish to get them, please write a comment below, we try to let you have them via e-mail. Sorry about the inconvenience.
    What do the results say about Facebook friending and unfriending?

“Seventy-two percent of people who unfriended a Facebook ‘friend’ based on their behavior on Facebook agreed that the person posted unimportant topics online.”

Another interesting finding is that “…when a person indicates that they unfriended someone for offline reasons, they disliked their behavior and experienced a larger change in their relationship compared to those who selected online reasons for unfriending.”

Using covariate analysis, Sibona’s study discovered some interesting group differences that warrant further research. For instance, respondents residing in the US agreed less often that somebody posted too often about everyday life compared to those residing outside the US. But this difference might vary again if one were to compare the US with respondents from Canada and the UK (e.g., due to cultural differences or similarities).

Also, the more people saw each other within the last 12 months, the less likely they were to agree that the person they unfriended posted about polarizing topics.

The longer survey respondents used social networks, the more likely they were to agree that they had experienced a negative change in the relationship.

    Free report

I suggest you get the complete report; it is definitely worth a careful read. All you need to do is leave a comment below, and your email address with the comment form – your address will NOT be published. You will receive a link for downloading from our servers, since we cannot distribute it openly until it is published in January 2011.

    Issues for future research

While Sibona cautions us about drawing any conclusions regarding his exploratory research, the findings are very interesting.

His study raises some issues about future work investigating how various moderators might affect friending and unfriending, such as:

    – older users and other online social networks (OSNs), such as Xing, LinkedInIdenti.caGoogle Buzz, or Twitter,
    – individual differences among targets (e.g., the one looking to friend vs. the one being asked),
    – gender and education, as well as
    – using an OSN for business or private reasons (i.e. people who keep separate profiles might differ from others…).

For instance, could it be that people who are more similar (e.g., gender and age) are less likely to unfriend each other or would the answer again be influenced by how many ‘friends’ one already has.

By the way, the research reached 7,327 people through tweets, of whom 2,865 began the process of answering the online survey and 1,553 (54.2 percent) completed it, meaning 45.8 percent of those who started the survey failed to complete it.

What is your take? How do you see these issues?

Please let us know in the comments!

Article source: ComMetrics – Facebook: Friending, unfriending and being naked

Watch the video below for a summary of this post and more comments about the research.

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  • SWP

    Hi, would you please send me your report? Many thanks!

    • http://My.ComMetrics.com Urs E. Gattiker

      SheilannThanks for your comment above but which report are you referring to, all the links are in the blog post above.nnDo you need anything else. Please let me knownnThanks for getting in touch with us.

  • Anna

    Hi,nSocial media is fascinating and definitely changing how we interact and think about ourselves.nI have been following links all over the place to view the full research that Christpher has done in this study.nIs this what you are able to email? I am interested in using it with a year 12 media class while we study media influence and Facebook etc.nRegards Anna

    • http://commetrics.drkpi.ch/articles/2011-trends-get-better-roi-with-facebook-twitter-and-youtube/ Urs E. Gattiker

      Hi AnnannYou have to contact Christopher to get the full paper, I sent you his e-mail.nnI have also included another paper telling you about how truthful people are in their Facebook profiles…. very truthful as this research shows.nnI hope this is useful.

  • Julia

    I’m highly interested in the complete report on reasons for unfriending and friending in facebook. Could you share it with me?

    • http://DrKPI.de/ig/4yt/*/*/*/FTindex Urs E. Gattiker | DrKPI

      Dear Julia

      No problem, here is the reference with the link to download the published paper from 2011. I hope this is useful:

      Sibona, Christopher and Wilczak, Steven. (2011). Unfriending on Facebook: Friend Request and Online/Offline Behavior Analysis. In Proceedings of the 44th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 10 pages. Retrieved, January 5, 2014 from http://www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings/hicss/2011/4282/00/07-05-17.pdf

      Incidentally, this blog has moved to http://blog.DrKPI.com. Julia I hope to read your comments there.

      If I can be of any further assistance let me know please. More recent research also suggests that negative comments to not result in more likes or share but less…. as cited in my latest book http://SecURL.de/Buch14

      Thanks again Julia,

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