[Air-L] Buddy churn

danah boyd aoir.z3z at danah.org
Sat Aug 11 15:39:09 PDT 2007

With the American teens that I study, folks do not delete friends  
from social network sites unless they had a fight or broke up  
(romantic relations and friendships).  In other words, deletion is an  
explicit, rude, intentional, and mean act that is meant to be a  
rejection.  That said, when they switch networks or create a new  
account (often because they forgot their password), they don't add  
everyone back that they had before.  So the "churn" is more a matter  
of new systems, new valuing of people.  This is really noticeable in  
IM where they create new accounts more often (because their handle is  
lame, because they didn't want someone to see them, because it's a  
new school year, whatever).

I can't remember if i've ever written this up properly (I'm blurring  
what I've written, said, and blogged about)... In a blog post, i  
documented some fieldnotes about breakups:


On Aug 10, 2007, at 5:20 AM, Aleks Krotoski wrote:

> Hello, I was wondering if anyone's done any research
> or has any insight into how often people remove
> friends from buddy lists. Is there Buddy churn in
> Instant Messaging or on Social Networking sites? On
> RSS feeds or on Blogrolls? In virtual worlds or MMOGs?
> Absolutely any pointers/directions/references
> welcomed!
> Thanks very much,
> Aleks
> PhD candidate, University of Surrey
> http://www.toastkid.com
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"cuz i don't care if they eat me alive
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