Facebook subject to Dunbar’s Number


How many “friends” do you have on Facebook?

If you’re like most people then you’ll probably have more than 150. Perhaps many more.The problem is that the research is clear that this means that you’re unlikely to have a meaningful relationship with all of these “friends”‘.

The 150 limit is known as “Dunbar’s Number” and comes from a range of studies that shows most people can maintain about 150 social relationships at any one time.

By “relationship”, Robin Dunbar means “the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar”.

The interesting thing is that the research shows this number has been stable across time, and seems to be a cognitive limit rather than one of connection. In other words, social media is as limited by Dunbar’s Number as were the villages in the Domesday Book.

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