Here's one simple way to strengthen your real-world ties: Connect with relatives, colleagues and pals on Facebook.
The social network's structure naturally promotes stronger friendships, a study led by Indiana University post-doctoral research fellow Emilio Ferrara found.
Researchers examined millions of Facebook users and their social relationships. The data scientists measured community sizes, intimacy within friend circles and interactions using the Label Propagation Algorithm a statistical formula that can collect and process information coming from large-scale networks such as Facebook.
The study's results confirm all the time we're spending on Facebook isn't going to waste.
"We discovered that the average degree of communities and their size put into evidence the tendency to self-organization of users into small- or medium-size communities well-connected among each other," the report states.
Elements of Facebook foster open communication channels, which benefit the closeness of friend groups. Friends of friends are also more likely to connect on Facebook, broadening our existing networks.
Facebook is a social network of small and tight-knit communities. Connections on Twitter, on the other hand, are weaker because information can be disseminated in tweets without interaction. Plus, it's more likely users have more acquaintances on Twitter than on Facebook.
Frequently, there are discrepancies with who you follow and who follows you back. Communication on Facebook is much more effective and interactive.
The study's results support the social theory backing the strength of weak ties, which means our secondary connections (friends of friends) are our greatest source of information and ideas.