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Women leading Facebook defriending trend, study says

A Pew study suggests that finally, finally human beings--and especially women--have begun to prune their alleged friends on Facebook. Could there be rational, even venal, reasons for this?

Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's Friday and therefore time to muse about friendship.

Here's one thought: If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then my friend may, in fact, be more troubling and irrelevant than Ann Taylor separates.

Here's another: People appear to suddenly be realizing that their Facebook friends are not--and will never be--real friends. Oddly, though, they are finally doing something about it.

I am grateful to my nonfriends at ReadWriteWeb, who have unearthed a new Pew study that says defriending is trending on Facebook.

People are finally wandering around their Facebook garden and, perhaps stimulated by FarmVille, are taking shears to their peers.

The study suggests that people are sauntering through, untagging themselves from the more tangled poses in photographs, snipping at comments that might seem a touch snippy and, yes, unfriending those who are either unseemly--or, perhaps, merely unknown.

Those were the days, my friends. Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Women seem to be doing this even more enthusiastically than men. There appears to be a nine-point difference between the sexes, with 67 percent of women admitting that they had cast Facebook friends to the hills.

The same percentage of women also declared that they had limited their profiles to their friends, rather than letting the whole world eye-drop into their world.

An interesting concomitant is that only 8 percent of women said they'd ever posted something they'd regretted. 15 percent of men admitted to similar emotions. The only surprise there, surely, is that a mere 15 percent admitted to what at least 65 percent have done.

One is left to speculate whether all of this increased culling and pruning might somehow be associated with employers' increasing enthusiasm to scour Facebook for clues to the true nature of employees--current and potential.

Just the other day, I was forced to open a bottle of absinthe after reading that one's Facebook profile could accurately predict one's job performance.

I cannot think of any reason other than money that would cause human beings to act so conservatively and reduce their apparent friend levels.

At heart, we are all Sally Fields. We want love from the world. The greater the volume of that love, the greater our sense that we are decent, lovable people.

Sometimes, however, needs must. And we need money more than we need friends. Yes, even fake friends.