As rapper/singer/songwriter Drake explained eloquently, “No new friends, no new friends, no new friends, no, no new, still here with my day ones,” we should stick with our true friends. What about the hundreds of friends you have on Facebook? They aren’t all really your friends are they? How many of your Facebook friends would die for you, how many would kill for you? According to a recent article I read, which cited a study done by Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, most of your Facebook friends don’t care about you and would not even sympathize with your problems.
The study also found that there was very little correlation between having friends on online social networks, and being able to count on them. Facebook is a massive online social network, with each one of us being a node, interconnected by edges to hundreds (if not thousands) of other nodes (and that is before we go into degrees of separation). Within your immediate friend list, how many of those individual nodes would drop everything they are doing and if you needed their help? The average person in the study had 150 friends, and said only about 27% of them were genuine.
I am willing to bet a 24 rack of Yuengling that the majority of students in our class have more than 150 friends on Facebook. Before I deleted my Facebook over the summer, I had roughly 700. So if 27% of my “friends” were genuine, I would have 189 true friends. I cannot even think of 189 people I know off the top of my head, let alone that many people I’m close with.
The article lightly touches on the idea of weak and strong connections, when referring to how the previous numbers are similar to how friendships work in real life. Professor Dunbar suggests that that real (strong) as opposed to casual (weak) friendships require at least occasional face-to-face interaction to maintain them. I agree. Our strong connections most definitely require face-to-face contact, how many of us can say we have close friends that we don’t often see in person? I see my closest friends at Temple University almost everyday, and my closest friends at home every few weeks.
I’d like to challenge anyone who reads this to look through their friend list and see how many are your real friends. If you have 500 friends, are you really a node who has 135 strong links. If you have 1000, do you have 270? Maybe my reason for choosing this article, which I just happened to find while browsing Reddit, is that I am anti-online social network. I’m sick of seeing people in social settings, such as parties, glued to their phones looking at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Keep focusing on your weak links, instead of meeting new people.
What do I know though? Let yourself be a slave to a social network of people you don’t care about. Last time quoting Drake, “f**k a fake friend, where your real friends at?”
Leave a reply, I want to hear your thoughts.
Griffin, Andrew. “Facebook Friends Are Almost Entirely Fake, Study Finds.” Independent. N.p., 22 Jan. 2016. Web. 25 Jan. 2016. <http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/facebook-friends-are-almost-entirely-fake-study-finds-a6826721.html>.