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Why we add and remove Facebook friends

A new survey highlights the reasons behind our friendly – and no so friendly – behaviour on Facebook.

Billy no mates...
Billy no mates...
Image: Phil Hawksworth via Creative Commons/Flickr

WHETHER YOU APPROVE or not, the word “friend” is now used as a verb.

This is the world we live in.

Whatever your personal feelings may be about that, the reasons to friend a person on Facebook – or to defriend them – are many and varied, according to a new Nielsen study.

The top reason why a person friends someone else – perhaps unsurprisingly - is because they know them in real life. Meanwhile, the main reason for a person being dropped is due to offensive comments.

The top reasons why Facebook users…

Add friends

  • Know the person in real life (82 per cent)
  • Mutual friends (60 per cent)
  • Business networks (11 per cent)
  • Physical attractiveness (8 per cent)
  • Increasing friend count (7 per cent)
  • Friend everyone (7 per cent)
  • Quality of photo (7 per cent)
  • The other person’s friend count (4 per cent)

Remove friends

  • Offensive comments (55 per cent)
  • Don’t know person well (41 per cent)
  • Trying to sell something (39 per cent)
  • Depressing comments (23 per cent)
  • Lack of interaction (20 per cent)
  • Political comments (14 per cent)
  • Break-up or divorce (11 per cent)
  • Don’t like their friends (8 per cent)
  • Update profile too often (6 per cent)
  • They add too many people (6 per cent)
  • They don’t update enough (3 per cent)

In terms of personal relationships, the survey found that social media was most used for contacting family (89 per cent), to find or maintain old friendships (88 per cent) or to find new friends (70 per cent).

The survey revealed that men more likely to use social media for career or networking  opportunity, while women often use social media as a creative outlet.

Read: Social media use in Ireland no longer growing, poll finds>

Read: Love/hate: Mixed reaction to Facebook’s new timeline feature>

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