Study finds social networking doesn't help keep old friends

A study has found that while people are now able to maintain contact lists of hundreds of people, the number of people in one's inner-circle remains finite.

Study finds social networking doesn't help keep old friends

World Bulletin / News Desk

A study into how the internet has changed human communication has found that as much as social network sites like Facebook have changed the way humans communicate in the modern age, some things still remain the same.

The study by the Said Business School of Oxford University found that even though people have hundreds of friends on their contact lists, they only actually have a handful of close friends. At the same time, old friends are often dropped when new friends are made, in order to keep the number of people considered to be in the individual’s inner-circle at a consistent figure.

One of the researchers in the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, Dr Felix Reed-Tsochas, told The Independent “Although social communication is now easier than ever, it seems that our capacity for maintaining emotionally close relationships is finite.”

In the study, researchers tracked the Facebook habits of 24 students over 18 months while they made the transition from school to university or university to work. Each participant was interviewed on three separate occasions to analyze their new and old friendships.

It was found that the participants’ ability to keep up with old friends and invest in social relationships was finite. They all had a small circle of close friends that they would speak to more often for longer periods on the phone and online.

Professor Robin Dunbar said “As new network members are added, some old network members are either replaced or receive fewer calls. This is probably due to a combination of limited time available for communication and the great cognitive and emotional effort required to sustain close relationships.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Ocak 2014, 14:59