is everywhere. The social networking site has grown from being just for
college students to having over 500 million active members. The David
Fincher film about Facebook's creation, "The Social Network" is
currently topping the box office at 22.4 million dollars. It's only 8:30
in the morning and so far, I've heard the word "Facebook" said on TV at
least three times. Facebook. Is. Everywhere.
So, it only makes sense to study the phenomena that seemingly
everyone - from our best friends to our grandmas - are partaking in.
Christopher Sibona, a PhD student in the Computer Science and
Information Systems program at the University of Colorado Denver has
revealed his study of the top reasons for "unfriending" on Facebook - a
first of its kind.
"Researchers spend a lot of time examining how people form
friendships online but little is known on how those relationships end,"
And they do end. And it's actually called "unfriending." "Unfriend"
was named "word of the year" in 2009 by the New Oxford American
Dictionary. To unfriend, to not unfriend, or to be unfriended (and then
perhaps re-friended?) is always the question.
What's the number one way to go from having 342 friends to having
341? Sibona found, after surveying 1,500 Facebook users (on Twitter,
ironically) that it's not talking about polarizing topics like politics
or religion (that was number two) or even posting inappropriate, crude,
or racist things (that was number three). It was "frequent, unimportant
So, if you plan to live-blog sitting on the couch, waiting for the UPS guy to show up, you better make it entertaining.
The study delves further, citing that 57 percent of those surveyed
unfriended for online reasons, while 26.9 percent did so for offline
behavior. Sibona also found that those making friend requests stood a
much higher chance of being unfriended while those doing the unfriending
seemed to have the upper hand in the relationship.
Some of those surveyed were hurt when they got unfriended while others were simply amused.
"There are a wide variety of reactions depending on who did the unfriending and why," Sibona said.
Which makes sense; if that guy you met at a party who you have barely
spoken to in two months unfriends you, no big deal. But if your mom and
her whole side of the family unfriends you? Something's wrong.
What's a Facebook newbie to do to keep the friends she has and gain
some new ones? Keep it simple, keep it light, and always err on the side
of caution. Especially these days when 54.6 percent of recruiters look
up potential employees on Facebook. The types of behavior that will get
you unfriended on Facebook might also cost you that new job you
On the subject of unfriend-worthy behavior on Facebook, a new trend
is cropping up this month where female Facebook users post status
updates like "I like it on the floor" or "I like it on the couch."
These cheeky statements are not a glimpse into these women's sexual
proclivities, but rather an attempt to raise breast cancer awareness.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
While the sentiment is nice, the action can be annoying (or creepy,
depending on who posts what) but before you go on an unfriending spree,
consider linking these ladies to any number of websites where they can
donate to cancer research, or encourage them to get off the computer and
take a walk, as exercise is a great way to combat cancer.
However, don't be shocked if you get unfriended for this.
Sara Huffman likes it on the chair with her cat lying on top of it.