Do You Network or Broadcast?

A recent article in the “Economist” compared what we (humans) do on social networking sites to “grooming” or meticulously selecting our friends and allies like we would in “real life.” An Oxford anthropologist years ago extrapolated that the typical human mind can allow for a stable network of 148 friends. This is known as the “Dunbar” number. The in-house sociologist at Facebook did some number crunching and came up with the following:

  • Average # of friends per user – 120.
  • Average man with 120 friends only regularly interacts with 7 of these 120, while women slightly higher (10).
  • Numbers drop when we’re talking two-way email communication – men (4) and women (6).

Those facebookers with 500 plus friends have more interaction, but not by a lot. The intimate network stays pretty tight. We are not so much networking it seems but rather “broadcasting.” How narcissistic … 🙂


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