Online networkers ‘collect friends like trainspotters’

  • 11 September 2007

A conference has been told that members of social networking sites MySpace and Facebook now collect friends in the same way people used to collect stamps.

The competition is to list more online friends than anyone else, in a process dubbed ‘MySpace whoring’.

The phenomenon was discussed by Will Reader of Sheffield Hallam University, who claims human relationships are changing as a result.

He said: “It can be a bit like trainspotting. They just want to get as many people on to their list as possible.

“It does upset some people. They start off by feeling good that they appear to have made a new friend only to find out that they are simply being added on to a list.

“They’re not wanted for themselves; they’re wanted to extend a list.”

Dr Reader added that the way people end friendships is also changing – rather than friends losing contact gradually, people now simply ‘spring clean’ their lists and remove them.

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