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Facebook Friends are Real-Life Friends!

Turns out people are most likely to "friend" people on Facebook they know in real life. Surprise, surprise.

In August, we reported that Stanford University's Jure Leskovec had analyzed human Web behavior, and could predict who your next Facebook friend would be. Turns out it doesn't take a scientist to figure out that your next Facebook friend will be that cool girl you met yesterday at your cousin's barbecue.

New research from NM Incite shows that Facebook users are most likely to add friends if they know them in real life. I know--shocking. In a survey of a representative sample of 1,865 adult social media users, 82 percent said that added Facebook friends if they knew them in real life. (click infographic to enlarge)

I'm not surprised at all--I have over 1000 Facebook friends, and I've only added a handful of people that I hadn't already met in real life. And that handful of people was made up of people with whom I had a mutual friend. Having a mutual friend was the next big reason people cited for adding friends--60 percent responded that this was a reason they added Facebook friends.

After "knowing someone in real life" and "having a mutual friend," the reasons for adding Facebook friends were mostly superficial. People cited "physical attractiveness" (8 percent), "quality of photo" (7 percent), and "their number of friends" (4 percent) as reasons for adding friends, along with "business networks" (11 percent), "friend everyone" (7 percent) and "increasing friend count" (7 percent).

NM Incite's survey also asked respondents why they were likely to de-friend Facebook friends. Not surprisingly, "offensive comments" tops the list (55 percent of respondents said this was a reason for de-friending people), followed by "don't know well" (41 percent), and "trying to sell me something" (39 percent). Other reasons for de-friending included "political comments" (14 percent), and "update their profile too often" (6 percent).

In other words, people don't want to be your friend if you're offensive, overly political, always trying to sell them something, or you just talk all the time about nothing--sounds kind of like the real world.

A couple of other interesting tidbits:

* Men are more likely to use Facebook for business networking and dating, while women are more likely to use it as a creative platform--sounds a bit like the typical gender stereotype of women gabbing on the phone while men text "B @ BAR @ 7"


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