Ever wonder why it seems your friends have more friends than you do?

Steven Strogatz discusses the Friendship Paradox here, and in doing so, explains why statements like this can be true:

Consider these results from a colossal recent study of Facebook by Johan Ugander, Brian Karrer, Lars Backstrom and Cameron Marlow. (Disclosure: Ugander is a student at Cornell, and I’m on his doctoral committee.) They examined all of Facebook’s active users, which at the time included 721 million people — about 10 percent of the world’s population — with 69 billion friendships among them. First, the researchers looked at how users stacked up against their circle of friends. They found that a user’s friend count was less than the average friend count of his or her friends, 93 percent of the time. Next, they measured averages across Facebook as a whole, and found that users had an average of 190 friends, while their friends averaged 635 friends of their own.

He uses some easy and intuitive examples using a little algebra. So stop feeling like a loner, and go check it out!

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