Friends and Facebook

Posted by on Jan 25, 2010 in behaviour change, Science | No Comments

 Matriarch_youngster_Gombe

Short piece in yesterday's Sunday Times trailling some upcoming work by the great Robin Dunbar that seems worth keeping an eye open for: 

"We may be able to amass 5,000 friends on Facebook but humans’ brains
are capable of managing a maximum of only 150 friendships, a study has
found.

Robin Dunbar, professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford
University, has conducted research revealing that while social
networking sites allow us to maintain more relationships, the number of
meaningful friendships is the same as it has been throughout history"

If he's right – and it seems plausible – then it's worth being careful with what we call these SM connections. "Friends"? Or "Connections"?

And reminding ourselves that while technology is incredibly powerful, it's the human stuff that tends to win out. 


Pic c/o Scienceblog