Unfriending on the Increase

While Microsoft Word seems not to recognize it as a word, unfriending is an increasingly common phenomenon according to new figures from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which show a significant increase in unfriending and similar activities (deleting comments and removing tags from photos) over the last couple years.

Pew’s latest data, based on a survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 26 to May 22, 2011, using a sample of 2,277 U.S. adults, found that 63% of social network users have deleted people from their “friends” lists, compared to 56% in 2009. Meanwhile 44% have deleted comments left on their profile by other people, compared to 36% in 2009, and 37% have removed their names from photos that had been tagged to identify them, up from 30% in 2009.

Women are more likely to have deleted someone from their friends list, at 67%, compared to 58% of men. The same percentage of women say they use the highest security settings for their social network profiles, compared to just 48% of men. 23% of men and 16% of women say they have restricted their privacy settings so friends of friends can see their profiles, while 26% of men and 14% of women say their profiles are visible to the public.

There’s good reason to be security conscious, beginning with our own tendency to do stupid things online: 11% of respondents in the latest Pew survey said they have posted content they later regretted. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men are considerably more likely to regret posting something online, at 15%, compared to just 8% for women. Way to use your commonsense, ladies! And for the gentlemen, some helpful tips: if it involves nudity, swear words, epithets, illegal drugs or beer bongs, you probably shouldn’t post it online.

1 comment about "Unfriending on the Increase".
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  1. Ted Rubin from The Rubin Organization / Return on Relationship, February 26, 2012 at 10:46 a.m.

    This research makes sense since social is becoming so much more widespread and many are simply friending in order to grow the numbers of their following with little more purpose or even some thread of connection. For some this can be worthwhile, but others are thinning the ranks of their followers/friends to better suit their use of the medium or desire to connect. Also deleting comments from personal pages makes sens in many cases when the comment is either inappropriate or someone is using their connection to you as a soapbox for their views. This is a normal and valuable progression of an evolving medium.

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