A study of the online relationships of those in their twenties and fifties has uncovered a generation chasm in which the former courted, on average, 50 times the number of online relationships.
Intersperience, a consumer research group, found that the average 22 year old now counts some 1,000 online social connections, a number which tailed off dramatically for those in their fifties, who could only manage around 50 connections.
Identifying a clear link between peoples age and the number of online friends they would have the researchers found that people aged 13 to 16 had an average of 450 friends on social sites, a figure which fell to between 100 and 200 for those in their thirties and 50 and 100 for those in their forties.
Paul Hudson, Intersperience’s chief executive, said: “Our research underlines fundamental changes taking place in British society as a result of finally entering the digital age. Half of the UK population are on Facebook now and the explosion in social networking activity is blurring lines. In a social media context, a ‘friend’ means something different to a 20 year old than to a 50 year old.”