50 Friends Sounds About Right

Posted on 12/07/2018 in misc

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As I've discussed previously, I found a happy medium with Facebook by reducing my friend count from about 500 to 225, and then unfollowing every one of them except my wife and kids. (They might post 5 times a month total). The real value I get from Facebook isn't in the newsfeed of my friends, because that doesn't even exist. It's the event listings, and several private groups that I belong too. Facebook actually does those features quite well.

Since I don't follow anybody, my FB wall is just updates from some local businesses and bands that I follow. When I'm wondering what a friend is up to I simply visit their FB profile to see an unfiltered list of their latest posts. FB has a filtered view of friends with new posts, so they make this relatively easy. However, since reading OM's blog post I've realized that 50 is probably pretty close to the number of people that I actually check in on regularly on or off Facebook. I don't even check my mom's feed because she mostly shares lost dog notices in her neighborhood. Her neighborhood is 600 miles from mine, so I can't do anything to help the lost dogs, so I just get sad about the lost dogs. I mostly keep in touch with mom via text, and by calling her, because that is what a good son does.

Way back when there was a social networking app called Path that limited your friend list to 50 people. I'm wondering if the number 50 is more than a coincidence. Dunbar's number is 150, so we are talking 1/3 the size of the somewhat generally accepted upper limit on the size of a useful social group.

Om advocates for quitting Facebook entirely, and I totally see his point. However, several email lists and several other private groups I'm a part of only exist on Facebook now, and since it seems as though not having a newsfeed of friend updates seems to negate most of the most negative aspects of Facebook (for me anyway) I'm not feeling like it needs to exit my life completely.

Not yet anyway.

Hat tip to Om Malik. His blog post on this same subject inspired this post.

This is entry #7 in my attempt at 31 days of blogging for December 2018. I've haven't posted here daily since about 2007, so this should be interesting.

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