Almost half of Brits prefer ‘cyber friendships’

Date: Thu, 03/31/2016 - 16:01 Source: BT Mobile

Around half of Brits prefer to stay in touch with friends digitally rather than face-to-face, according to new research by BT Mobile. A huge 79% admit that they have friends they would not stay in contact with at all if it weren’t for social media. A further 72% believe social media has strengthened their friendships
Almost half of Brits prefer ‘cyber friendships’ Image credited to BT Mobile
With each person in the UK sending an average of 11,315 texts each year, along with 1,092 picture messages and 6,935 WhatsApp messages, these cyber friendships are increasingly demanding faster connections and access to data wherever we are. The research found that we’re also increasingly sharing content, with one in 10 of us sharing over 50 videos a week with our digi-friends. Facebook tops the list of ways we keep our cyber friendships alive (80%), followed by email (67%) and then text (63%).
The move from face-to-face to digi-friends has created a unique etiquette of modern communication. Among the golden rules uncovered by BT Mobile’s research are to never use a professional platform such as LinkedIn to chat someone up, to never text bad news, and if a friend is a good friend, to make sure you wish them happy birthday via text not just on Facebook!
BT Mobile conducted this research with former Oxford University lecturer and Big Brother and Body Talkpsychologist Dr Peter Collett, looking at how people are increasingly moving away from the traditional ways of staying in touch, and how the psychology of friendship in the digital age has changed. He said: “By nature, humans are social animals. Given that so much of our enjoyment is linked to other people, it’s hardly surprising that we invest so much time and effort into keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances. New digital communications have made it even easier for us to express our true nature, and the research that BT Mobile has conducted uncovers some really interesting new trends of the cyber friendship.”
Kelly Barlow, Director of Voice and Mobile at BT Consumer: “With such a wide variety of ways to stay in touch on offer, it’s no wonder we have seen a rise in digital friendships. We know that staying in touch withdigi-friends is made much easier through fast, reliable connections, and BT Mobile’s combination of over five million wi-fi hotspots and access to the biggest 4G network in the UK allows customers to ensure they’re able to keep up cyber friendships wherever they are.”
BT Mobile also looked at how friendships conducted online vary across the UK. Manchester residents have the most digi-friends, with an average of nearly 200 digital friendships. In contrast, those in Edinburgh are most likely to conduct their friendships face-to-face, with the average resident having 144 digi-friends. In Sheffield, residents rely the most on digital friendships, with 53% admitting to having friends they wouldn’t stay in contact with if it weren’t for social media channels.
Londoners are the most likely to connect with their circle of digi-friends via WhatsApp, sending an average of 28 messages a day to friends and family. With regards to Facebook, Cardiff residents top the list, sending an average of 16 messages and comments per day. In terms of Twitter, Liverpudlians tweet an average of eight times a day, the highest out of all UK cities. These three cities are the most connected in the UK, as each also make over 36 calls to friends and family each week.

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