All Social Nets is local: friending on #Facebook is a very provincial affair

Remember when you were told that there was this thing, called the Internet, that allows you to speak to anyone, anywhere in the world any time you like? Remember wondering what it would be like to have friends in China, which would surely happen, because of course, it was possible?

I’ll bet you’re still wondering that. Unless of course you already had friends in exotic locations.

Because as Nielson reports today, despite the global reach of the Internet, Facebook users are extremely provincial when it comes to their choice of friends. Rather than the uber-national conclave envisioned decades ago, it turns out that when faced with genuinely social relationships online, we all trend to what we’ve always done in the past: stick to what we know.

82% of respondents to the Nielson poll said that pre-existing meat-based relationships are the primary motivator for friending on Facebook. And of course, friend-of-a-friend relationships also play a big part in finding new friends online, just as they do in reality.

None of this is terribly surprising: trust is a big part of building friendships and its hard to imagine building genuine trust in the absence of at least some connection between you and whatever total stranger is on the other end of the cable. And the social nature of the modern web actually makes trust more important, not less.

For the rest of Nielson’s revelations, have a look at their press release below:

Friends & Frenemies: Why We Add and Remove Facebook Friends | Nielsen Wire.