Friends & Frenemies: Why We Add and Remove Facebook Friends

To friend or to de-friend, that is the question. New research from NM Incite, a Nielsen McKinsey company, reveals that there are innumerable factors that help Facebook users decide to add a friend or cull someone from the fold, though knowing someone in real life is the top reason cited for friend-ing someone (82%) and offensive comments are the main reason someone gets the boot (55%).

Research suggests that real world interactions drive online friendships. Meanwhile, sales-oriented and depressing comments help drive friend removals. Facebook etiquette also plays a role, with updating too often, too little or having too many friends a consideration for some Facebook users.

Social media activity also plays a role in these decisions, as research indicates that men are more likely to use social media for careers/networking and dating – while women use social media for a creative outlet, to get coupons/promos or to give positive feedback. More men add friends based on business networks or physical attractiveness and women are more likely to friend based on knowing someone in real life or remove them due to offensive comments.

Below is an infographic outlining the various reasons for adding or removing Facebook friends and a breakdown of social media activity:

*Methodology: NM Incite, State of Social Media Survey (April 2011). NM Incite’s ‘State of Social Media Survey’ is based on a representative sample of 1,865 adult (18+) social media users who were recruited from the Nielsen Online Panel to take an online survey. “Social media user” is defined as participating, talking, and networking online through various platforms to share information and resources. This includes Internet forums, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, video sharing, consumer rating and other social networking websites. The survey fielded from March 31 to April 14th.

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  1. This alircte infuricates me! Social media is ment to be a place that is created, run, and powered by the people. The thought that a government feels it has the right to crack down and restrict it, insults the progress we have made on human rights in the last century. As for governments using what is put on the internet against you in a court of law. Because it is open and public, I think there is little that can be argued against this. However, if you don’t want the world to know about it, don’t put it out there!! People need to censor themselves when it comes to releasing information on to the web. If you don’t mind everyone knowing fine put it out there, if its something you can’t talk freely about or wouldn’t share with a random person on the street, then keep it off social media sites. Simple enough!

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