Tight Knit Circles Flourish in Social Software

by Luke Wroblewski October 19, 2009

While social relationships can be modeled a number of different ways in online software -tight knits circles seem to emerge in each model. That is, a few people get the bulk of any given user’s attention (as measured by contribution). Looking at community, 2-way, and 1-way social relationships highlights these tight circles.

  • 2-3 average “clique” size on Y! Answers before social relationships were added (source)
  • 4 average people a man messages on Facebook (source)
  • 6 average people a woman messages on Facebook (source)
  • 7 average friends’ walls a man on Facebook posts to (source)
  • 10 average friends’ walls a woman on Facebook posts to (source)
  • 13 average “friends” for 92% of Twitter users (source)

A 2009 study on Twitter found that these relationships were mostly reciprocal. That is 90% of a Twitter user’s “friends” (defined as anyone who has been messaged by a user at least twice using “@” replies) reciprocated attention by also being friends with the user.

For more insights from online social relationships, check out my complete Impact of Social Models presentation.