|You just can't have more than 200 friends on Facebook: Study
|Thursday, January 21, 2016
LONDON: It has been suggested that social media might overcome the constraints because posts, tweets and pictures allow us to talk to many more people at the same time even if the interaction is not direct.If someone claims that he or she has over 1,000 friends on Facebook, he or she is probably lying.
According to an interesting research, the average number of real close friends people have on the social networking site is less than 200, and here too women triumph with more genuine friends than men.
According to psychologist professor Robin Dunbar from the University of Oxford who conducted two surveys, among regular social media users, the average number of friends they had on Facebook was 155 in the first survey and 183 in the second.
Women had more friends than men (in the first sample, women averaged 166 and men just 145 friends; in the second, it was 196 vs 157) while - perhaps unsurprisingly - older generations had fewer friends than younger ones, Dunbar found.
According to him, social media certainly help to slow down the natural rate of decay in relationship quality that would set in once we cannot readily meet friends face-to-face.
"But no amount of social media will prevent a friend eventually becoming 'just another acquaintance' if you don't meet face-to-face from time to time," Dunbar explained in a paper published in Royal Society Open Science journal.
"There is something paramount about face-to-face interactions that is crucial for maintaining friendships. Seeing the white of their eyes from time to time seems to be crucial to the way we maintain friendships," he added.
Offline, research has given rise to what's called the Social Brain Hypothesis. This says that our brain's ability to process multiple relationships creates a natural group size of 100-200 people for humans.
This size is also constrained by the time required to maintain relationships - we only have so much time to devote to meeting or talking to people.
Social media may seem to be a way to make and maintain hundreds of friendships.