The more Facebook friends you have, the less generous you (probably) are

Have a lot of Facebook friends? Then why do you hate humanity so much?

Just kidding, but a new study from the University of Warwick has found that those of you with ‘Friends’ up the wazoo are less likely to give generously to charity. (I guess un-tagging yourself from photos and writing ‘U ok hun’ on hundreds of walls is so time-consuming it doesn’t leave a lot of time to think about anything else…)

As Psych Today reports, economist Dr Kimberley Scharf compared people’s JustGiving activity with the number of friends they have on Facebook, and found that those at the smaller end of the scale were more generous. On average, someone’s donation was 2p less for every online connection they had.

This confirms her earlier findings that smaller cliques are more likely to share details of charity fundraisers with each other than larger social groups, because members of larger groups assume someone else will share the info. They also apparently assume everyone else will pony up, so are more cautious with their cash. She calls this ‘free riding’, and says, ‘The problem is that everyone thinks the same thing and therefore the actual amount of money that’s donated is less than it would have been had fewer friends been asked in the first place.’

The worst news for anyone hoping to parlay their social network into donations for a good cause is that, according to Dr Scharf, in order to get the most cash out of your Facebook friends, you have to do something physically demanding. So you’re far less likely to see the money rolling in when you commit to a 24-hour readathon than if you do a tough mudder. Bummer.

Image via Pixabay.

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Diane Shipley

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