(Mirror Daily, United States) – Ever since 2004 social media has only flourished. People have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tinder and many other platforms. And with these accounts come a large number of friends and acquaintances in the so-called “friends list”. But are Facebook friends real?
The average social media user has a large number of friends in the so-called “friends-list”, but are Facebook friends real? Will they really act like friends when we will need them to? Are those virtual friendships worthy of the name, or are they more of an “acquaintances list”?
Robin Dunbar, a British professor of psychology has conducted a study in order to answer all of those questions. The name sounds familiar because he is the scientist behind the “Dunbar number”. The number that bears his name is actually a calculation model that theorized the maximum number of stable relationships an individual could have.
According to the “Dunbar number”, a single person could maintain a maximum number of 150 relationships. All that surpasses the limit falls in the “acquaintances” category.
The famous British professor of psychology analyzed a sample of 3,375 Facebook users with ages between 18 and 65. The average number of actual real-life friends that a single user had was 150. Out of these 150, only 4.1 would prove to be dependable and 13.6 would express feelings of sympathy if the user expressed having an emotional crisis.
Dunbar declared that the study revealed the fact that the two kinds of friendships did not differ in the virtual environment from the off-line study that the professor of psychology completed a few years ago when he devised the “Dunbar number”.
Furthermore, the researcher discovered that a large amount of friends in a “friend-list” did not make a significant difference, the number of real friendships that the user had remained the same as the one of an average user with fewer virtual friends.
The professor of psychology explains that by adding more people, users do not enlarge their friends circle, but rather that of acquaintances. And there is no scientific evidence to point that fact that users with a larger friends list are more sociable.
Dunbar also adds that the fewer people a user has in the “friends list”, the better. Because virtual friendships cannot be cultivated only in the on-line environment. They need a significant amount of time invested by the user, and time is scarce these days.
So are Facebook friends real? It seems that they aren’t.
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