Notable breakthrough: What makes a Facebook 'friend'?
McDaniel professor explores how open users are to strangers
Robert Lemieux (Courtesy McDaniel College, Baltimore Sun / May 9, 2011)
Researchers: Robert Lemieux, a McDaniel College professor whose previous research and teaching have touched on romantic relationships, health campaigns and the culture of organizations.
Stage of research: The results, published in the August issue of research journal Psychological Reports, found that for many Facebook users, there is a low bar when it comes to accepting friends. Nearly three-fourths of the study participants approved a friend request from the fictitious classmate.
Implications: The research shows that some social norms on Facebook may differ from those of normal face-to-face interactions. "In essence," Lemieux wrote, "members accepted the friendship of someone they didn't know, and considering the inequity of information exchanged, the acceptance is counter to norms of reciprocity."