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Who Are Facebook Friends? Exploring the Composition of Facebook Friend Networks

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Abstract:

The structure and impact of social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook is determined by relationships among users, yet we know little about what those relationships are. This study advances a typology of 13 relationship categories derived from qualitative research and uses it to characterize 2,512 randomly selected relationships. Results suggest that Facebook networks are often large, butare composed of relatively weak relationships. Acquaintances, lapsed friendships, and “friends of others” account for over half of all Facebook contacts with another 20% representing relationships that are restricted to a particular setting. Most Facebook contacts reflected offline relational patterns. Approximately 10% of all contacts were judged by users as being very close or strong relationships. When placed in the context of the large size of many SNS networks, this figure raises intriguing questions about the link between social technologies and the total carrying capacity of human social networks.
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Name: International Communication Association
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MLA Citation:

Parks, Malcolm. "Who Are Facebook Friends? Exploring the Composition of Facebook Friend Networks" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Suntec City, Singapore, Jun 21, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p404726_index.html>

APA Citation:

Parks, M. R. , 2010-06-21 "Who Are Facebook Friends? Exploring the Composition of Facebook Friend Networks" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Suntec City, Singapore Online <PDF>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p404726_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The structure and impact of social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook is determined by relationships among users, yet we know little about what those relationships are. This study advances a typology of 13 relationship categories derived from qualitative research and uses it to characterize 2,512 randomly selected relationships. Results suggest that Facebook networks are often large, butare composed of relatively weak relationships. Acquaintances, lapsed friendships, and “friends of others” account for over half of all Facebook contacts with another 20% representing relationships that are restricted to a particular setting. Most Facebook contacts reflected offline relational patterns. Approximately 10% of all contacts were judged by users as being very close or strong relationships. When placed in the context of the large size of many SNS networks, this figure raises intriguing questions about the link between social technologies and the total carrying capacity of human social networks.


 
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