A just-released Pew study on the ways people use social networking sites has found, unsurprisingly, that the most popular social network is Facebook, with 92% of social networking users reporting that they have a Facebook account.
The study also found that on average Facebook users have about 229 Friends, with about 22% of their total Friends list being comprised of people they know from high school, 12% extended family, 10% coworkers, 9% college friends, 8% immediate family, 7% people from extracurricular groups and 2% being neighbors.
According to Pew, the average Facebook user has never met 7% of their Facebook “Friends” in real life, which means that on average about 16 people on a given Facebook Friends list are actually more like strangers. Users on average have only met 3% of their list (around 7 people) just once.
These numbers seem about right: A quick scroll down my Facebook Friends list reveals a smattering of people I’ve just added because I know “of” them and a few people I’ve added who I’ve met once at a conference. These not-quite friends Facebook Friends serve as reminders that Facebook should make it easier to mass “un-Friend.”
Either that or come up with a different word for the relationship.