A University of Colorado-Denver business student claims to have conducted one of the first comprehensive studies on the causes and etiquette of "unfriending" on Facebook. Christopher Sibona surveyed over 1,500 Facebook users and says his findings point to "frequent, unimportant posts" as the number one reason for unfriending.
"The 100th post about your favorite band is no longer interesting," Sibona said in a press release.
Making politically polarizing and inappropriate posts on friends' walls are the next-most prevalent reasons for unfriending, according to the study
According to the CU-Denver Business School press release:
The study showed 57 percent of those surveyed unfriended for online reasons, while 26.9 percent did so for offline behavior.
Sibona found a sort of online hierarchy of dominant and subordinate relationships. For example, those making friend requests stood a much higher chance of being abruptly unfriended. At the same time, those doing the unfriending seemed to hold the upper hand in the relationship. It's a delicate dance with its own rules or "nettiquette," far different from face-to-face interaction.
Sibona is working twoard his PhD in Computer Science and Information Systems. In January his research findings will be published by the Hawaii National Conference on System Sciences.
In 2009 "unfriending" became the word of the year in the New Oxford American Dictionary.