Mar 5, 2012

Dunbar's Number and Facebook

You're allowed only 144 more.
According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, a person can only have about 150 friends that they interact with socially.  Rick Lax decided to disprove that theory.  He has over 2000 "friends" on Facebook, so he decided to write a personal letter to all to them.  He went alphabetically and started writing them short, friendly and personal letters.  He only got to 1,000.

I only made it through 1,000 of my 2,000 Facebook friends. But that was enough. My experiment’s outcome was crystal clear: Dunbar’s number kicked my ass.
In trying to disprove Dunbar’s number, I actually proved it. I proved that even if you’re aware of Dunbar’s number, and even if you set aside a chunk of your life specifically to broaden your social capital, you can only maintain so many friendships. And “so many” is fewer than 200.
Writing my Facebook “friends” had taken over my time. I was breaking plans with real friends to send meaningless messages to strangers. Some of the strangers didn’t respond, and many of those who did respond only confirmed Dunbar’s theory.

He has a new respect for British Anthropology and his real friends. 

Source Underwire 

No comments:

Post a Comment