Washington, Oct 6 (ANI): Facebook has become the best platform where friends meet to share photos, news and gossip, but when relationships sour, another phenomenon often occurs - unfriending.
And now, in a first-of-its -kind comprehensive, a University of Colorado Denver Business School student has revealed the top reasons for Facebook unfriending, who is unfriended and how they react to being unfriended.
"Researchers spend a lot of time examining how people form friendships online but little is known on how those relationships end. Perhaps this will help us develop a theory of the entire cycle of friending and unfriending," said Dr. Christopher Sibona, a PhD student in the Computer Science and Information Systems program.
After surveying more than 1,500 Facebook users on Twitter, Sibona found the number-one reason for unfriending is frequent, unimportant posts.
"The 100th post about your favourite band is no longer interesting," he said.
The second reason was posting about polarizing topics like religion and politics.
"They say not to talk about religion or politics at office parties and the same thing is true online," he said.
Inappropriate posts, such as crude or racist comments, were the third reason for being unfriended.
The study showed 57 percent of those surveyed unfriended for online reasons, while 26.9 percent did so for offline behaviour.
Sibona observed a sort of online hierarchy of dominant and subordinate relationships. For example, those making friend requests stood a much higher chance of being abruptly unfriended.
At the same time, those doing the unfriending seemed to hold the upper hand in the relationship.
It's a delicate dance with its own rules or "nettiquette," far different from face-to-face interaction.
"There is a lot more nuance in the offline friendship world. You don't have to go up to someone and ask them to be your friend. That's not the case online. It can be awkward," said Sibona.
An AOL study showed 30 percent of teenagers wanted to unfriend their own parents.
Sibona found two users who actually did this. One later refriended his mom but put her on a limited profile so he could manage her online interactions.
While some respondents reported being deeply hurt at being unfriended, others were more amused than traumatized.
The study will be published by the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. (ANI)