New study shows that your Facebook friend count doesn't really matter

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A study at Oxford University reveals that your Friend List on Facebook contains more acquaintances than true friends
By Jason Spencer | Jan 30, 2016
Friends on Facebook. Yes, your friend count could be over 1,000 people, but would all 1,000 of those friends take a bullet for you or be present in a moment of need?

The answer is not likely; in fact, the only reason it is called a "Friend List" is because "Acquaintances You Barely Remember from High School" wouldn't fit in the box.

According to TechNewsWorld a study at Oxford University shows that the Friend List doesn't hold a candle to traditional friends. Evolutionary psychology professor Robin Dunbar led the research, which observed two sets of adults ages 18-65 and their social media habits.

"The conclusion is that despite the pressure to befriend all and sundry with some tenuous link to you via someone else, in fact most people just sign up to the friends they have in the offline world -- bar the odd few here or there," said Dunbar.

Dunbar hypothesized that a human can only maintain about 150 stable relationships, and out of those only 5 or so are the ones who will offer a shoulder to cry on when things go bad. Out of the people observed there was an average of 150 friends.

Forbes reports that out of these 150 only 4.1 were considered true friends, though 13.6 would offer condolences during an emotional crisis. Dunbar's accuracy resulted in the 150 friends being named the "Dunbar Number."

"The fact that people do not seem to use social media to increase the size of their social circles suggests that social media may function mainly to prevent friendships decaying over time in the absence of opportunities for face to face contact," concluded Dunbar.


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