The Virtual Adventure
I have 726 friends on Facebook. Now while I think this is a lot, what do statistics show? The median number of Facebook friends is 200. Half of the billion + Facebook users have “200 or fewer” friends where as the other half has more.The average number of Facebook friends is about 338 (Source: http://bigthink.com/praxis/do-you-have-too-many-facebook-friends) and 15% users have more than 500 Facebook Friends http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/03/6-new-facts-about-facebook/. So I guess now you know where I stand.
Now, its easy to add people on Facebook or stay connected with that guy you met at a party in 2008, but does having so many friends actually mean anything? What about its consequences from a purely social perspective? (Forget envy, fear of missing out or FOMO or any other complicated repercussion). Just how feasible it is to manage a network so large?
Robin Dunbar actually found that people can only cognitively handle about 150 relationships (For the paper click here). Anything greater than this and we falter, and cant operate at the “optimal processing capacity”. A great article in the New Yorker talks about the Dunbar number and having too many friends, you can access it here. This article also says that with the evolving virtual environments perhaps we can better handle an increased number of connections – since we can browse at peoples feed at will and not require intensive contact to be updated about others’ lives. So essentially, I could be sitting in my PJs watching The Walking Dead and be informed of the upcoming nuptials of my friend from high school on Facebook, congratulate her and then move on to chat with another friend about the lack of walkers in the Fear the Walking Dead Pilot. So theoretically it is possible to have tons of friends on Facebook and not be compromised in anyway.
So in order to prove this I have decided to set off on a “virtual adventure” of sorts.
Now what might this entail?
Simple: In the next one month I am going to initiate a conversation with all my 726 Facebook Friends. Now this might be weird, because I believe I may not have spoken to some folks for 10 years or more and it may be for a reason. But in the name of sociological research I shall put my introverted reflexes aside and speak to every single one of my Facebook friends. So if you hear from me on Facebook, you shouldn’t be surprised.
-Say more than “Hi, whatsup?”
-Enquire as to the wellbeing and whereabouts of everyone
-The conversation must last 5 minutes on Facebook messenger
Now I assume some people may not bother to reply to my messages. In which case, I am open to suggestions. What should I do? Remove said individuals from my contact list or initiate contact again?
I will be writing about my “virtual adventure” here.
*Watch this space*