That’s what a new study says on how long friends stay connected on social networks. Sociologist Gerald Mollenhorst says you lose about half of your close network members every seven years. Mollenhorst conducted a survey of about a 1,000 people, aged between 18 and 65 years. Seven years later the respondents were contacted once again and 604 people were reinterviewed.
Mollenhorst’s research revealed that networks are not shrinking, despite American research revealing otherwise. Over a period of seven years personal networks was found to be strikingly stable. However, during the course of seven years, people replace many members with other people. Only thirty percent of the discussion partners and practical helpers still held the same position seven years later. Only 48 percent were still part of the network. The study also shows that social networks are not based on personal choice, but are formed as a result of circumstance.
Now obviously there is a difference between the online and offline world. I’m connected to people know that I lost contact with for over twenty years. But most of those people I lost contact with I didn’t really want to keep in contact with. The moral of this story? While social networking will grow, it just might not be where today’s social media experts and investors say it will be, like at Facebook.