The most common source of Facebook friends is people you went to high school with.
That’s according to a massive study about social networking habits released by the Pew Research centre today.
The study found that the average Facebook user has 56 friends from high school (22% of the average total).
No other category was even close — extended family was next with 12%, followed by coworkers at 10%, college buddies at 9%, and immediate family at 8%.
Proof, I guess, that most of us never really graduate. Or maybe that Facebook is a safe place to keep loose connections with all those people you really don’t want to see more than every 10 years.
Some other interesting points in the study:
- Women outweigh men on all social networks — 56% to 44% total — except for LinkedIn, where 63% of users are men.
- We check Facebook a lot — 31% of visitors visit the site more than once a day. Twitter was a distant 2nd with 20%.
- Social networks help rather than hurt your social life — people who use social networks are less likely to be socially isolated and have more close ties.
- About half of your friends are on Facebook — on average, 48% of users’ real-life networks were also their Facebook friends. 11% of Facebook users report having Facebook networks that are actually bigger than their real networks — in other words, they’re friending people they don’t know.
The study was based on interviews with 2,255 Americans in October and November last year. It’s available for free here.
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