Why do you friend someone on Facebook? Is it because you want to keep up with their life on a daily basis and lack the time to do so via email or over the phone? Do you friend someone because you want them to know moments from your daily life? Do you accept every friend request, from neighbours to coworkers to that cool person you once sat next to on a cross-country flight, or are you picky about who you add to your network? Would you ever add a friend of a friend you don't know at all?
And more importantly, why do you unfriend someone? Would you unfriend a close friend or relative if they said something to upset you, or would you remain connected to them online even if you couldn't work it out offline? Do you unfriend people who don't comment on your status updates, who don't update their own feed often, who comment too much on your status, making you uncomfortable?
Research has been done by social media marketers to try to understand why we add or subtract a social media connection. In a study from this past winter, researchers found that 4% of people added someone simply because they had a lot of friends which translates into a lot of connections whereas 82% needed to know the person from the face-to-face world in order to add them. Offensive comments were the most common way to get yourself booted out of someone's network (55%) but only 3% said they would remove you for not updating enough.
But an area this research doesn't touch is whether your reasons for why you friend or unfriend someone changes over time? I often wonder if life changes also influence the way we use social media, if we become more guarded or more open based on where we are in life. Have you noticed your social media habits -- especially Facebook usage -- changing over time based on other things happening in your life? Are you currently more comfortable or less comfortable with social networking than you were in the past?
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