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Facebook sheds light on love

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Facebook used for relationship study

For some, making the decision to switch from single to ‘in a relationship’ is the toughest online choice they will ever make. For others, it’s done far too easily and, it would seem, predictably.

A recent study conducted by British journalist and graphic designer David McCandless used data from the social networking site to work out the peak times for ending a relationship.

Using information gathered from over 10,000 status updates, McCandless found three key times when people are most likely to be told ‘We need to talk’. These are in the days after Valentine’s Day, the period before Spring Break (a pre-exam party tradition for US students) and prior to Christmas.

It’s not you, it’s Facebook

McCandless’ work echoes recent research into why people delete ‘friend’ profiles from their Facebook account. The study, conducted by Dr Christopher Siobona from the University of Colorado Denver, found that Facebook friends were likely to be lost through boredom.

He elaborated that those whose status updates were uninteresting and repetitive were most likely to face the cyber-axe, while 29.6 per cent of users would delete somebody they found annoying.

Dr Sibona claimed such ruthlessness was not as common in the real world, suggesting that people are much less inhibited when behind a keyboard: “There is a lot more nuance in the offline friendship world. You don’t have to go up to someone and ask them to be your friend. That’s not the case online. It can be awkward.”

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