The counter located prominently on everyone's Facebook page has created a bit of a friends arms race. According to new research, it's a race you may be better off losing.

A study from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland of 300 Facebook users has found the more social network friends a person has, the higher their stress level. The reason for this, the study suggests, is that when you open up your life to people who aren't in your core group of "real life" buddies, things become tricky.

"Facebook used to be like a great party for all your friends where you can dance, drink and flirt," said Ben Marder, a marketing fellow at the University of Edinburgh and author of the report explained. But now with your Mum, Dad and boss there the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social landmines."

These are landmines that Mark Zuckerberg probably wasn't thinking of when he developed Facebook as a Harvard -- and then college student-exclusive -- social network. But now with Facebook's open enrollment policy Marder's research does seem to ring true.

Hmm. Maybe there is a market out there for something a bit more exclusive like the original Facebook.

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