Posted May 20, 2008 1:10 pm by with 20 comments

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If you’re on a social networking site, chances are you have less than 100 friends. If you have thousands, you’re not only in the minority, but you’re probably male.

According to a large study of people with at least one friend on a social networking site, men have more friends than women. Men and women also seem to be motivated by different values. That’s the conclusion of a study by Rapleaf of 30.74 million social networkers.

There are some interesting patterns about how the number of friends we have and why. This may not come as a surprise – overall men are more focused on acquiring “friends” than building relationships with them. Women spend more time on social network sites but aren’t as likely to have more than 1,000 friends.

The information comes from these sites: Bebo, Facebook, Friendster, Hi5, LiveJournal, MySpace, Flickr, and others. Of this group:

  • 80% have fewer than 100 friends.
    Women have on average 62 friends. Men have on average 57 friends. The majority are women.
  • 9% have more than 100 friends.
    Women have on average 185 friends. Men have on average 172 friends. The majority are women.
  • Less than 1% have more than 1,000 friends
    Women have on average 1,837 friends. Men have on average 1,944 friends. This group is more likely to be men.
  • .02% have more than 10,000 friends
    Women have on average 24,077 friends. Men have on average 24,584 friends. This group is more likely to be men.

I don’t know if they excluded people like “Tom” on MySpace who befriends everyone and others who want to be like Tom – a friend to all. I’m curious of Marketing Pilgrim readers, how many friends do you have on what sites and how much time do you spend interacting with them?

I don’t spend a lot of time on any social sites except Twitter. Facebook comes in second – where I have 103 friends right now. Most of them are people I know well in real life, but of those I haven’t met 14 in real life, and about 3 are businesses or groups. Perhaps 5 are people I don’t know and don’t interact with.

  • We find that Facebook users tend to stick to befriending those they know in real life since it seems to be a more “personal” social networking site. We have 700 friends only due to our travels and vast amount of people we know across the globe. On Facebook, we have about 4,000 due to using it for marketing purposes in the past. We however are in the minority!

  • What does it mean if your friendly with hundreds and friends with thousands? Does that make me a social website usage junky or just an overly social networking socialite?

  • Hmm… we like “social networking socialite”. It’s much more becoming!

  • Great post. I do find this a bit surprising though. Only because it seems that regardless of the “maturity level” of the social site, men/males tend to flock to women. Twitter is a great example of this. Simply post an attractive female picture in your profile (i.e. @performancing), and voila’ – you have a lot of friends.

  • Jordan McCollum

    I find that younger people also tend to have more Facebook friends, especially people who are in (or first joined while in) college.

    My husband, who finally joined in the last six months or so, has 66 friends (and 628 friends on a separate profile devoted entirely to playing a specific app).

    My sisters who joined while in college have 339 each… very strange… Their husbands have 322 and 112 friends. My high school sister wins, though, with 348 friends.

    But we all live on the Internet, what can I say?

  • I only really use StumbleUpon and Facebook. With Facebook, I have just over 100 friends, with about 75% of those being people I know in real life.

  • ^that’s because younger population uses soc. networks more, and most of they friends are already there, what is the main reason of fbooks popularity.

    I have more than 500 people on Facebook, and I know more than 90% of them, what is a consequence of the fact most of my friends use it.

    Btw I am male 😀

    Eniac’s last blog post..Oklem lova frajeru

  • Interesting article. I would have thought the complete opposite (that women would be added more than men).

    I’m gravitating more towards sites like LinkedIn and Salesconx for networking now because people don’t just “add” you to have a lot of friends. People on LinkedIn and Salesconx WANT to get to know you and want to network with you.


  • Great perspectives. I fairly new to social networking and have about 50 friends each on LinkedIn and FaceBook and just started Tweeting yesterday. I personally know more of my LinkedIn contacts. I value LinkedIn due to the Questions & Answers. I don’t accept gifts on FaceBook but like the Groups.

    I’m on SN sites for a few reasons – to learn, keep up with the latest in marketing, networking and identifying how social networking can help clients. Interestingly, few of my “real life” friends socialize virtually. They spend their free time cycling.

  • Most of my friends on facebook have an average of 80 friends.
    As for myself i have a little over 680.
    30% connect every day and the rest at least once a week.

    Peintros’s last blog post..The Future of Artificial Intelligence

  • Interesting statistic. I think this is make sense…Women love to have friends, chatting, talking, gossiping. That’s why they love to spend more time on social networking.

  • I’m an early adopter, so I have a lots of accounts in lots of social networks.

  • On myspace I have 84, facebook only 36 and I know them, on perfspot I have 168 and none of them I use for business or whatever. Basically I love to chat with people regarding my leasing services so I need to be friend with that specific attitude people. Most of the time I will be talking on places, travel n finance.

  • I would not quite all my contacts made through the social network websites as my ‘friends’. The best that I can think of is ‘acquaintances’. I am also gradually withdrawing from most networks as I find that I simply cannot spare the time.

  • I do not spend time on social network sites too much, though I do have an account on facebook.

  • I have a lot of friends on myspace, I use it for marketing purposes as well as for meeting new people. I live in a rural area in a conservative state. I find it easier to find like minded people on myspace than in real life.
    However, at Facebook, I only have a few friends and they are all people I know in real life.
    Interesting study.

    Myspace Friend Adder’s last blog post..Friend Blaster Pro ~ Myspace friend adder review

  • How do people communicate with more than 100-200 friends? I can see the marketing reason but in every other case i ask myself: How can people afford the time? Are there no people anymore doing real work?
    Is there serious communication going on or is this only smalltalk?

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  • Very interesting statistics and I would definitely have thought that women would have more friends. From my experience on Facebook they are without doubt the most active.
    I have over 1000 LinkedIn connections and have just gone over the 1000 mark on Facebook today. Most of these people I don’t know, though I am making real friends too.
    Next I’m going to try MySpace. I have no real reason to do all this online networking yet, but I’m sure it will come to me eventually!

    Tim Baxter’s last blog post..12 Ways To Get More Facebook Friends

  • hello!!! i had been joined new social networking site past 1 week before later i got more friends from zigime network…… As for me nowadays people are willing to join new social networking site like zigime bcoz already they would have account in myspace r facebook and all….now is rocking