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It's interesting to see the average number of friends from 2006 to present has decreased to around 300 (The last reported number was 305 in 2010 so it could even be under 300 in 2012).

Maybe Facebook users are being more self ware (privacy conscious) of who they add as a "friend"?




As I recall, in 2006 only students were allowed on it, and many of them would add seemingly everyone on campus as a friend.

It's possible that today, students still do that, but other people don't, bringing the average down.

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My friends that had Facebook at college (I was in the UK, so did not) each have over 1,000 friends. Those of us that did not have something in the region of 100-300 friends.

So, I think the answer here is that as the audience for Facebook has diversified, the average number of friends has settled to a more realistic number.

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I think it's more likely to show that Facebook's growth has been faster than in 2006. People who just started using the site obviously have less friends in general than people who have been for awhile.

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Maybe people have reached what could be considered their 'critical mass' in respect to the number of friends.

You can realistically only know a small number of people, and 300 is probably a good estimate for acquaintances rather than friends, over time you add people, remove people, fall out with people etc.

In the first few weeks you add more people than ever, then the curve slows down to 'old' and 'new' friends, in which case the trend slows down as all the people you used to know have added you.

I know that now, 5 years in to my use of an account, I delete more 'friends' than I add.

Not because of privacy concerns, mind you, I just realize now that a lot of the people I added in the early days weren't 'friends', they were just 'people' with whom I had some intangibly vague connection.

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You're talking about Dunbar's Number: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

"Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.[1] Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar's number. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150."

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That's also how Path came up the their maximum number of friends you can add: http://service.path.com/customer/portal/articles/659426-why-...

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Thanks for the link, made for interesting reading :)

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Facebook is probably showing you updates of probably around 120 - 150 of active people, with about 7-20 very active close friends. And as someone has already mentioned, this has been proven against Dunbar's Number, and in other studies.

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I think that quite a lot people have <50 friends (including the fake users). Those don't use facebook very much - just for messaging. So I don't trust those numbers. I don't think people are being more self ware.

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