Driving to work the other day, I heard an item on Radio Scotland about how many online “friends” we can realistically maintain. I’m not sure how this became a topical item for commuter news, as I have investigated further and discovered Robin Dunbar identified the number – it’s 150 – way back in 2008. (See this New Scientist link.)
The point is that those who have hundreds of “friends” on Facebook, or other social networking sites, are kidding themselves, as they simply can’t maintain sufficient contact with so many people to justify describing them as friends.
As one of the dwindling refuseniks who still haven’t joined Facebook or Twitter, I gleaned some foolish comfort from this stat, but of course I have more than 150 people in my LinkedIn network, including many of the followers of this blog, so am I one of the deluded?
I don’t think so. One of the things I like about LinkedIn is that it makes no pretence that your network of contacts are friends. Its clear purpose is networking for work-related reasons, and it holds onto that objectivity.
I’ve just invited all my LinkedIn contacts to follow this blog, as a contribution to my previously posted intention to expand this community and generate more debate. But I won’t be offended by those who don’t sign up to follow, and simply continue to read when it suits them – that’s their choice.
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