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Facebook chatter fails to improve relationships

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By John Glenday, Reporter

April 10, 2013 | 2 min read

People’s increasing sociability online is failing to translate into improved relationships with friends and family in the real world according to new research.

Whilst our time spent on social networking sites has skyrocketed researchers warn that any belief that this makes us more popular or affords a more fulfilling life is misguided with face-to-face conversations still the only route to a meaningful friendship.

Researchers found no correlation with the amount of time spent online either messaging or exchanging photos with friends and family with the quality of those relationships in reality.

Instead the experts found that people are happiest and more likely to laugh when speaking in person or video messaging where visual emotional cues can be picked up.

Psychologists from the University of Chester studied the interactions of 300 volunteers to arrive at their findings, discovering that those who spent the most time on sites such as Facebook actually had less real world friends than those who logged off more.

Dr Jens Binder, a psychologist from Nottingham Trent University, said there was a fundamental limit to the number of close friendships an individual can maintain, probably no more than a handful, with a secondary set of 10 close contacts.

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