Tuesday, November 23, 2010

150 Friends on the Wall

Robin Dunbar, a professor at Oxford University, has studied societies - monkeys, too - throughout history and determined that people are incapable of maintaining contact and interacting with more than 150 people at a time.

How many 'Facebook friends' do you have? How many do you talk to?

He defines interacting as communicating at least once per year and, pretty much, you know how you met them and if they know any of your other friends.  After 150, the group begins to splinter.  Within "Dunbar's Number" of 150, the average person has 4 or 5 friends whom they frequently lean on for support.  Although he determined the number 20 years ago, recent research suggests that it holds true today and even applies to social networking.

My number of 'friends' teeters somewhere around 420. ..I hardly ever think to look, but when I happen upon it, it's always a different number.. and not necessarily higher. For a microsecond, I wonder if I've made someone mad by saying their necklace looks like a butt ...or if someone loosed the shackles that is the News Feed by deactivating their account.  Since I have too many to know who did it, or care, I buy what Dunbar is selling.

Unsettling tidbit: YOUR Dunbar's Number can be as high as 230 and as low as 100. It all depends on the size of your brain. ..which makes me too nervous to go counting and tallying, so enjoy.

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