There’s a Legit Mathematical Explanation for Why Your Friends Are More Popular Than You

AP

If you feel like your friends on Twitter are more popular than you — congratulations! Your suspicions are correct. 

According to a study published in PLOS ONE, people rarely follow other users on Twitter with fewer followers than them — in other words, the Twittersphere operates on a "date up" mentality. 

The researchers computed a dataset of over 200 million tweets and concluded that this tendency applies all the way up to the top 0.5% of the population. That explains why Kanye can only follow Kim Kardashian West — she has 45.6 million followers compared to his measly 23 million. 

Source: Larry Busacca/Getty Images
Source: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

So if most Twitter users have an inclination to follow other users with the same or more followers than them, you'll notice that your digital friends are indeed more #popular than you. 

These findings speak to a larger phenomenon called the "friendship paradox," which states that "in social networks, people on average have fewer friends than their friends do," according to the study.

So next time you're feeling like a dweeb on the web, remember — the world is what you make it.