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article imageOur social networks remain very ‘small’

By Tim Sandle     Jan 10, 2014 in Internet
Despite the range of different media and opportunities for social networking, the typical person has a social network equivalent to the number of people that they would be in regular contact with if social networks did not exist.
There are a range of different social networks available, including the dominant players like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+ and LinkedIn. Although there is widespread access and a range of sites on offer and easier access through smartphones and tablets, new research indicates that despite the greater opportunities to connect, the typical person still has a relatively small network.
Even though digital social networks offer instant, infinite connections to other people, people still focus their communication efforts on a small, finite group of close friends or family.
This indication came when the communication patterns, tracked with phone call and survey data from several groups of students transitioning from school to work or university, suggested that when individuals add a few people to their social network, they unconsciously bump some from it, keeping their network small.
The research is not clear, however, as to whether there were differences between gender, age and geographical location.
According to News Mail, the researchers also went one step further an attempted to group social media users into one of five groups. These groups are:
The Foodie - must upload a photo of every meal they eat until the end of time
The Bragger - only posts about themselves and their latest achievements no matter how insignificant
The Serial Inviter - constantly invites you to sign a petition or play Candy Crush with them
The Vague Poster - thinks they are being mysterious when they are only being annoying and nonsensical
The Intimate Sharer - shares intimate details of their life. No, we are not interested in your foot fungus
How much these social reality groups relate to actual human characteristics is a matter of conjecture.
The study was conducted by Queensland University of Technology associate professor of media and communications Axel Bruns. The findings of this social networking study have been reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper is titled “Persistence of social signatures in human communication.”
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