Adamic, L. A., Lento, T.M. and Fiore, A.T. (2012). How You Met Me. ICWSM’12 short paper.
full text pdf
According to their analysis of responses of more than 2.5 million posts to the popular Facebook meme, “Leave one memory of how you met me…” from July 2010 to Nov 2011, the team identify trends in the source of connections made on the social network.
A really excellent analysis.
Fantastic graph detailing differences in categories by age (a significant categorical difference). Majority of responses across all age groups - by a mile - is school, although this reduces in number as respondents get older. Work is next popular for respondents of all age groups except <18 years old, whose second most-frequent connection is “birth”, denoting a parent, sibling or other family member.
Only gender differences:
Men were 57% more likely to meet a friend through sports than women, while women were 34% more likely than men have befriended a neighbor.
As for future research, the authors propose:
There may also be some close ties, e.g. siblings and spouses, who play a disproportionate role in shaping individuals social networks in ways that have not been studied on a large scale.
Facebook is clearly therefore more about reinforcing existing relationships than forging new ones, echoing a recent comment at a lecture I gave from an undergraduate student, “if you want to make new friends, don’t go to Facebook. Go to a dating site.”