Monday, November 12, 2018

Angelus' Quote: Theoretically, 150 Is the Limit of Real Friends on Social Media (Why?)

I don’t like the post that says “Scientists say...” without any references. But I will tell you one social science research here without extensive references. Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford, done a research on online networking and found that the average number of friends on Facebook (or social media in general) that we can really have meaningful friendships online is about 150 individuals. Dunbar suggests this number (now known as ‘Dunbar Number’ which actually 148 rounded up to 150) because “friendships ultimately require occasional face-to-face interaction if they are to be maintained over time.” You can read more about this research... yes... online... yes... Google.

When I thought about this Dunbar’s Number, it makes sense to me. Why? On average, I assume roughly we have 5 real/intimate friends, 15 good friends (include the 5), 50 ‘okay’ friends (include the 15), and the rest are just acquaintances. Some may have more or less, but basically, we have below than 10 real/intimate friends online/offline. Now, imagine you have ‘collected’ 5,000 friends on Facebook. What’s for? Besides you know well that you have issues such as self-image, these numbers are just a fantasy. If you ‘confirm’ another friend on Facebook, you’ll have 5,001 now, after 1 week or less, this one ‘friend’ will be buried under your crowded wall. Even if they follow you or you follow them, how about the others? ‘Confirm’ and then ‘gone’? Now, one good reason to have thousands of online friends is that it is good for your online marketing and business. But then, if one is a sensitive person, she will ask, “What’s the motive here?” Basically, I'm okay with 'permissible' marketers as friends.

Now, Dunbar’s Number can be wrong or inaccurate or over-generalized. I take this number sceptically. Since we human sometimes overestimate our ability, I increase the number to 250 (but as for my Instagram, I don’t put any limit). Not that others are less value but it's about priority and purpose of having social media. When you Log In, why? It’s not about limiting your ability to make more friends, but it’s about limiting yourself for quality friendship online. Unless you’re a marketer, celebrity, artist, or pope, I suggest you trim down your friend lists. “Unfriend” one name at a time.


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