This is a really nice article, although the basic tenet is pretty obvious: people have more friends (which, in part, is due to Facebook and other social media using the term "friends" and stretching its definition) but the quality of the interaction is much less than, say, 25 years ago.
"You've got enough friends, a new one is bad for you," says a petulant character named Max in "Kicking and Screaming," Noah Baumbach's 1995 cult movie, when a member of his post-collegiate quadrumvirate attempts to introduce a fifth guy. "You start spreading your affection around and it runs thin, believe me."Teddy Wayne
The two-decade-old reference may feel dated, but consider the period the film was set in and the ways its characters interact. Landline conversations are routine. Lengthy answering-machine messages and postal mail play a significant emotional role. Friends gather at bars with no external distractions and little chance of making plans with other people on the fly.
It seems antique and quaint compared to how 20-somethings now socialize. Gone are focused landline calls, long recorded voice messages, snail mail (perhaps even long emails). Nights out with friends are interrupted by the immediate posting of frequently taken photos and other attention-diverting phone applications.
In hindsight, the movie's time — the '90s — was the last decade that had relatively few technological obstacles to traditional levels of friendship "thickness." Social media and smartphones spread affection around more easily; friendships may run thin.