Losing friends is never fun. Thankfully, a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado, Denver, has discovered how we can prevent it—at least on Facebook.
Christopher Sibona surveyed over 1,500 Facebook users to compile a list of the top five reasons why they’d “unfriend” a person. Here’s the list:
1. Going on and on about the same subject: The guy who reports the updates of his football team more frequently than ESPN’s bottom line.
2. Talking politics: The guy who mistakes the Facebook Notes application for a microphone at a town hall meeting.
3. Talking religion: The guy who posts e-prayer cards on all his friends’ walls, or slanders Islam whenever violence in the Middle East is in the news.
4. Being vulgar: The guy who uses the C-word in his status updates to get a rise out of people.
5. Being racist: The guy who casually drops the N-word in wall posts, as if it were synonymous with “buddy” or “friend.” (It seems like people have more tolerance for racists than they do for vaguely annoying people.)
As Time put it, “You can get unfriended for the exact same reasons that you can get a radio show.” Perhaps more striking: while 57 percent of participants stated they unfriend people for online reasons, only 26.9 percent said they do so for real-life behavior.
What can we learn from this study?
- If you want to keep your friends, you’re better off stalking them or making racist comments than you are repeatedly talking about your trip to Spain.
- We may be beginning to value online personality more than face-to-face personality.
- Ph.D. students are studying some pretty trivial subjects.