Many people with a Facebook account know they have the ability to “unfriend” someone in their group. The reason to unfriend someone could be an argument either online or in person. It could be because there is no longer any contact or a wide range of other reason. The reality of unfriending someone in cyber world is that is has real world significance.
The University of Colorado, Denver conducted a study to discover the repercussions of unfriending someone on Facebook. Some of the results showed that around 40 percent of participants would ignore in real life, anyone who had unfriended them on Facebook. There were 50 percent who claimed they wouldn’t avoid someone who had unfriended them, and 10 percent who weren’t certain what they’d do if unfriended on Facebook. When it came to gender, women were more likely than men to shun someone who had unfriended on Facebook.
The study was based on surveys of 582 participants and obtained through Twitter.
This type of study is important for illustrating how the Internet is changing relationships around the world. It is estimated that Americans using Facebook and other online social networks spend about 25 percent of their time there. This means that the common face-to-face form of communication is being replaced by distant online relationships. These interactions have unique rules, etiquette and even language.
The survey revealed that some of the main reasons people unfriend someone on Face book is they made numerous unimportant posts. People who make posts about politics, religion or other polarizing subjects, as well as posts that contained sexist, racist remarks or other inappropriate comments were often unfriended. Another reason people commonly are unfriended on Facebook was for making too many monotonous posts about their everyday life such as children, spouse, pets and more.
In a February 6, 2013 press release, study author Christopher Sibona, a doctoral student in the Computer Science and Information Systems program at the University of Colorado Denver Business School is quoted as saying “The cost of maintaining online relationships is really low, and in the real world, the costs are higher. In the real world, you have to talk to people, go see them to maintain face-to-face relationships. That’s not the case in online relationships. Also, in the real world when a friendship ends it usually just fades away. On Facebook, it can be abruptly terminated with one party declaring the friendship over. Since it’s done online, there is an air of unreality to it, but in fact there are real life consequences.”
University of Colorado Denver
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