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PUBLIC MARKS from jeanruaud with tags social & us

27 December 2010 16:00

You’ve Got to Have (150) Friends - NYTimes.com

Put simply, our minds are not designed to allow us to have more than a very limited number of people in our social world. The emotional and psychological investments that a close relationship requires are considerable, and the emotional capital we have available is limited. Indeed, no matter what Facebook allows us to do, I have found that most of us can maintain only around 150 meaningful relationships, online and off — what has become known as Dunbar’s number. Yes, you can “friend” 500, 1,000, even 5,000 people with your Facebook page, but all save the core 150 are mere voyeurs looking into your daily life — a fact incorporated into the new social networking site Path, which limits the number of friends you can have to 50. What’s more, contrary to all the hype and hope, the people in our electronic social worlds are, for most of us, the same people in our offline social worlds. In fact, the average number of friends on Facebook is 120 to 130, just short enough of Dunbar’s number to allow room for grandparents and babies, people too old or too young to have acquired the digital habit.

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