A new study reveals that Facebook friends are fake friends, and Instagram followers could also have the same tendency. Robin Dumbar, author and anthropologist, took a UK study of more than 3,000 Facebook users.
There’s a lot of debate on whether or not internet friendships are real friendships. With the great impact the internet has had on people through the last few years, it’s hard to dispell these relationships. However, this study proves that there are still a few doubts that can’t be settled.
In the Real World (Not Facebook and Instagram), People Can Only Have 150 Stable Relationships
According to the Dunbar’s number, people can only sustain 150 stable relationships. Dunbar took a British study and analyzed more than 3,000 users between the ages of 18 and 65. The users said that they had 150 followers, but felt comfortable contacting only about 4.1 in a crisis. The study also revealed that only 13.6 of friends could be sympathetic.
This is the case for people who have much more than 150 friends or followers.
The study revealed that though younger people tend to have larger networks, but older people tend to have more real-life friends in their networks. Dunbar explains that this is because people on social networking websites are more likely to add friends that they have vague links to. Some people add friends merely because of their friends in common.
The results of the study are pretty straight forward. Dunbar states that though it allows busy people to stay in touch and keep friendships, there’s limited time for social interaction in places like Facebook and Instagram. The author collectively declares that there’s still the risk for friendships to die out eventually.
Face to Face Interaction is Necessary
Dunbar expressed that there is a chance for every Facebook friendship to die out if they don’t meet in person. This is quite a controversial thought since entire relationships have come from these friendships. However, Dunbar’s conclusion has some ground.
The truth is that friendships of any kind need constant upkeep to stay alive. Whether this is resolved through physical meetings or Skype calls doesn’t really matter. There’s a line to be drawn between what surface relationships and deep ones are, like most real-life friendships.