Sunday, October 10, 2010

Too Many Friends?

A couple of weeks ago I was in the car half-listening to an interview on NPR on the way to work. I'm guessing it was the repeat of a 2008 interview with Malcolm Gladwell. He wrote a book called "The Tipping Point."

I haven't read the book but found reviews and additional information about the topic online. From what I gather, the book is about marketing and includes something about Dunbar's Number. According to Dunbar's math, the human brain is hard-wired to maintain relationships with no more than about 150 people.

The amount of social grooming required to maintain group cohesion is related to the size of the group. Dunbar said a group of 150 people would need to devote 42 percent of their time to social grooming. That's a bit more than 10 hours a day. I don't know about you, but my affection for sleep and the need to work and do chores around the house leave nowhere near ten hours for social grooming.

I'm glad to see science confirm what I figured out back in March. Keeping up with status updates and posts for more than 400 friends on Facebook was overwhelming. I deleted about half back in March. Some of the dearly deleted still haven't gotten over it.

Relationships are about quality, not quantity. Since March I've deleted more--and yes, I prefer "deleted" over "unfriended". It's nothing personal...usually, About what you'd expect from...

The Crotchety Old Man

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