When it comes to friending on Facebook, who you know still trumps how you look.
A survey from NM Incite, a Nielsen McKinsey company specializing in data on social media, that polled over 1,800 social media users found that 82 percent of Facebookers “friend” people they know in real life, while 60 percent connect with mutual friends.
The study examined why people friend and unfriend on Facebook and uncovered that a small percentage of users employ far less personal metrics to determine who to include in their online social circles. Eight percent of survey respondents had friended people because of how physically attractive they are, while 7 percent friend people merely to increase their number of Facebook acquaintances, 7 percent said they “friend everyone,” and 7 percent answered that they will add someone on Facebook because of the “quality of the photo.”
“Offensive comments” and a lack of knowledge about a person are the top two reasons people unfriend on Facebook, according to NM Incite’s research. People were also more likely to be disturbed by the nature of the content friends shared, rather than the frequency of it: 23 percent said they unfriended people over “depressing comments” and 14 percent unfriended over “political comments,” while just 6 percent unfriended because someone had posted too frequently.
A 2011 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project examining people’s social ties on Facebook also found that Facebook users frequently connect with people they already know.
The average Facebook user has 229 friends, 89 percent of whom they’ve met in person more than once, while a full 7 percent are people the user has never encountered face-to-face. The “largest single group of Facebook friends consists of people from high school,” according to Pew, which noted that, on average, Facebook users have 56 friends from high school, 30 from college or university, and 15 from work.
Though no one likes to lose a friend, unfriending on Facebook has grown in popularity along with Facebook’s skyrocketing userbase. Unfriending can now claim its own theme song, thanks to Jimmy Kimmel, and holiday, the annual Defriend Day.
See NM Incite’s infographic below for more findings from the report, which can be seen here. Why do you friend and unfriend on Facebook? Let us know in the comments below.