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Social networks stay small despite social networking

When adding new friends to social circles, people unconsciously bump others out, keeping social circles small and finite.

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Even though digital social networks offer instant, infinite connections to other people, people still focus their communication efforts on a small, finite group of close friends or family. The communication patterns, tracked with phone call and survey data in 24 students transitioning to work or university, suggest that when individuals add a few people to their social network, they unconsciously bump some from it, researchers report January 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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