There are some people who don’t take Facebook seriously, but there’s also a handful that feel otherwise. According to a source, new research has discovered that ‘unfriending’ someone on Facebook might come with serious real-world consequences.
Based on their findings, researchers found that 40% of people say they would avoid someone who unfriended them on Facebook, while 50% say they would not avoid a person who unfriended them. Women were more likely than men to avoid someone who unfriended them.
The author of the study, Christopher Sibona, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado Denver Business School said, “People think social networks are for fun”, he suggests that those sites can have real-world consequences.
Sibona says that the survey results show the effects of being ostracized on social media, citing respondents have reported reduced self-esteem, feelings of not belonging and a loss of control after being unfriended. They also say they had a worse mood after a social media breakup.
“The cost of maintaining online relationships is really low, and in the real world, the costs are higher,” Sibona said. “In the real world, you have to talk to people, go see them to maintain face-to-face relations. That’s not the case in online relationships. Since it’s done online, there is an air of unreality to it but in fact there are real-life consequences. We are still trying to come to grips as a society on how handle elements of social media. The etiquette is different and often quite stark.
Based on 583 responses gathered through Twitter, the research also found several other factors that would predict whether or not a person could avoid someone who unfriended them. These factors were:
- If the person discussed the event after it happened
- If the emotional response to the unfriending was extremely negative
- If the person unfriended believed the action was due to offline behavior
- The geographical distance between the two
- If the troubled relationship was discussed prior to the unfriending
- How strong the person valued the relationship before unfriending