Here is a question for Facebook users ….How many friends do you have?  NOT the Facebook kind but the real life human kind?  Chances are you have a lot more of the cyber friends than the flesh and blood variety…and chances are cyber friends actually have more influence on you!  “Facebook blogger Eytan Bakshy, of the site's data science team said that "Social networking technologies like Facebook let us connect to hundreds, even thousands of people - and have fundamentally changed how people get their information.”   SO we talk to more than we know…how does that affect the significance of the influence of those we don’t know?  The key to the analysis is volume and variety: Researchers found that even though people are more likely to consume and share information that comes from close contacts that they interact with frequently, the vast majority of information comes from contacts that they interact with infrequently.

    Add to that the fact that most of the people we know have similar experiences to us while "distant contacts” are also more likely to share unique or unusual information, demonstrating that “social networks can act as a powerful medium for sharing new ideas, highlighting new products and discussing current events."

    So all those friends on Facebook are more than a sign of prodigious online activity, they are influential sources of information from area outside our normal.