The 6 Types of Friends

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I’ve been continuing to analyze the data I collected about friendships on Last week I presented a paper at Internet Research 10.0 in Milwaukee co-authored with Kiley Larson, Andrew Ledbetter, Michelle McCudden and Ryan Milner in which we combined quantitative analysis of motivations people had for friending with qualitative answers to questions about what they get out of friending.

We then did a cluster analysis which led us to identify 6 types of friendships on the site. Axel Bruns did a wonderful job of live blogging the presentation and I hope he won’t mind my just quoting from his summary:

Nancy suggests that there are six types of friends: people who met on, divided into linkers, music explorers, and socialisers; people who met online, but not on (online socialisers); and local socialisers and local music socialisers.

Linkers have a static connection, very little communication, feel that it would have been rude not to friend, have the most recent friendships, and a low relational development; music explorers connect only because of the music, and have moderate and little off-site communication, they share musical tastes and histories, as well as other similarities, have the oldest friendship partners and low relational development; socialisers enjoy the site as a social space, do the most communication through it, met somewhere on the site, are interested but may not share one another’s musical taste, talk about music as well as other things, appreciate their differences, tend to be international and same-sex; online socialisers already knew one another from somewhere else online, and may also have met face-to-face, communicate a lot online but not through the site; local socialisers with high levels of face-to-face, phone, and online communication, but not through the site, observing one another’s listening and appreciate the sense of connection but don’t talk much about music, they have a moderately high relational development; and local music socialisers, who have the highest relational development, with high communication through all media,even moderately through the site, with music as a motivation for friending and an observation of each other’s listening patterns.

You can download my PowerPoints from the talk here.

I’ll also add that Axel blogged many other talks given at the conference, and point you to his complete event liveblog.

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