Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researching Facebook business: The business of 'unfriending'

Date:
February 20, 2014
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
Establishing and maintaining relationships online is becoming ever more important in the expanding global knowledge economy. But what happens to the relationship between business and consumer when a user 'unfriends'? Researchers have found that there are many online and offline reasons why a person might 'unfriend' another party. The team has examined these factors and offer insights into how virtual business relationships might be sustained and promoted.

Establishing and maintaining relationships online is becoming ever more important in the expanding global knowledge economy. But what happens to the relationship between business and consumer when a user "unfriends"? Writing in the International Journal of the Business Environment, Christopher Sibona and Steven Walczak of The Business School, at the University of Colorado Denver, USA, have found that there are many online and offline reasons why a person might "unfriend" another party.

Related Articles


The team has examined these factors and offer insights into how virtual business relationships might be sustained and promoted. They point out how transient online relationships can be, how easy they are to terminate and in most contexts do not carry the social ramifications of the end of an offline relationship. As such, it is, they suggest, important for organizations that use online social networking to learn how to reduce attrition, loss of "friends" or "followers" and also to consider how employees might be frustrated by the volatile nature of online relationships.

Facebook remains a significant player in the online social media network with much research focused on this system. Despite the occasional proclamation of the death of Facebook, there remain more than one billion or so users across the globe and a large proportion of them are highly active on the site and on mobile. Recent media attention claiming that young users were abandoning the site in droves proved flawed when a typographical error in the original research paper was revealed!

The use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms while initially seen by the corporate world as an annoyance, and then an extension of traditional marketing has now evolved for many, into a real-time and highly engaged approach to customer relationship management. Some companies, not-for-profits, and other organizations have recognized its potential and adapted to it more eagerly and more efficiently than others. Many have tried to game the system or exploit it purely for their own ends with no respect for the consumers or the community as a whole only to be forced to make embarrassing apologies when they are shown the error of their ways.

"In addition to providing increased consumer satisfaction, social networking sites have the potential to also enhance intra- and inter-organizational knowledge sharing (especially with the growing presence of dynamic and geographically separated teams) and serve as an expertise locater within the organization," the team explains. Moreover, it is important for organizations to recognize that the digital natives that are their new and future employees expect social networking and social media to be a significant part of their employment and expect to have access as part of their job.

The team has factored politics, religion, sex, bigotry, use of expletives, misdeeds, loss of trust, personality, incompatibilities, promotions, breakdown of offline relationships and many others as reasons for unfriending. They have carried out a statistical analysis of more than 1500 English-speaking individuals surveyed.

They found that there are two broad reasons for unfriending: offline and online. The offline reasons follow more traditional bonding social capital influences and are affected by all three friendship issues: interdependence, effort and value. Online reasons are affected by both bonding and bridging social capital relationships, they explain.

They offer several fundamental conclusions as to how business can avoid being unfriended: Businesses should avoid posting too frequently as this requires more effort on the part of the user and can be perceived as unacceptable behavior. They should ensure they are committed to relationships at the individual user level to make the social ties stronger. They should also generally avoid controversial and taboo subjects as these often polarize followers. In terms of employees, management should ensure their staff have separate business and personal accounts and keep the two fairly separate. Management and staff need to adhere to predetermined policies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher Sibona, Steven Walczak. Unfriending on Facebook: factors affecting online relationship termination in social networks and its impact on business. International Journal of the Business Environment, February 2014

Cite This Page:

Inderscience Publishers. "Researching Facebook business: The business of 'unfriending'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220094957.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2014, February 20). Researching Facebook business: The business of 'unfriending'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220094957.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Researching Facebook business: The business of 'unfriending'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220094957.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) It has been a long, busy year for Net Neutrality. The stage is set for an expected landmark FCC decision sometime in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins