WEB DESK: Having lots of friends on Facebook does not mean you have real friends. A new study finds out at that almost all Facebook friends are fake.
Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, conducted research into how Facebook friendship correlates with real-life friendship. Of the 150 Facebook friends the average user has, Dunbar found that only 15 could be counted as actual friends and only five as close friends.
“There is a cognitive constraint on the size of social networks that even the communication advantages of online media are unable to overcome,” the study found. “In practical terms, it may reflect the fact that real (as opposed to casual) relationships require at least occasional face-to-face interaction to maintain them.”
The study however found out that Facebook and other social media prevent friendships from decaying over time.
“Friendships, in particular, have a natural decay rate in the absence of contact, and social media may well function to slow down the rate of decay,” Dunbar wrote. “However, that alone may not be sufficient to prevent friendships eventually dying naturally if they are not occasionally reinforced by face-to-face interaction.”
The study found that in order to maintain a friendship one has to invest a lot of time in it.
“When you need that shoulder to cry on, you need a real shoulder — a virtual shoulder simply doesn’t do the job.”
If you don’t work at it, a Facebook friend will inevitably become “an acquaintance you once knew,” Dunbar wrote.
Source: HUffington Post, Newsweek