Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
March 09, 2010

Are Humans Hard Wired For A Limited Social Circle?

By Mark Sisson
113 Comments

Despite growing insight into neuroscience and the physical limitations of our consciousness, we have the tendency to ascribe a limitlessness to our minds. We readily accept the existence of certain boundaries in the material world, like fences, social stations, rules, laws (of physics and of states), or physical characteristics (“You must be this tall to ride the roller-coaster”), but when it comes to the inner world – the mind, our memories, our imagination, our cognition, and our social skills – we have trouble conceiving of real mechanical limits. When a word eludes us, playing about the periphery of our cognition (“tip of the tongue”), do we complain about faulty hardware? When we forget that cute girl’s name we just met at the party, do we blame the lack of available short-term memory data “chunks”? It’s only through neurological research that we’re even “aware” of the bioelectric interplay that is our thought process; in general, in everyday existence, we don’t think of our thoughts and our emotions in cold, mechanistic terms. We simply think, remember, feel, etc., without getting all meta about it.

Yet it’s clear that there are physical limits to our minds. The consensus on short-term memory, for example, is that most people are limited to retaining just seven items at once, or seven chunks of data – a physical limitation, hard wired into our brains. What if we were similarly hard-wired to effectively manage a limited number of personal relationships? It seems plausible. If memory has a corresponding physical capacity, why wouldn’t other functions of the brain?

Dunbar’s Number

Primatologists have often noted that non-human primates live in “grooming cliques,” tight-knit social groups of varying sizes where grooming is the means by which the members socialize and stay tight-knit. The number of members in a non-human primate grooming clique aren’t randomized, but rather dependent on the size of the particular primate’s neocortex region of the brain. Greater volume is associated with a higher companion threshold. Primate species with bigger brains tend to have larger social groups.

A British anthropologist named Robin Dunbar figured the same principle ought to apply to all primates – human and non-human alike. In 1992, using the predictive value of neocortex size, he was able to accurately predict average group size for thirty-six species of monkeys and apes. He then followed suit (abstract) for human primates and came up with a human maximum “mean group size” of 150 and an “intimate circle size” of 12. Hypothesis in hand, he then compared his prediction with observed human group sizes, paying special attention to the anthropological literature and reports from hunter-gatherer societies. The homo sapien brain developed around 250,000 years ago, so looking at hunter-gatherers was his best bet for approximating the social behaviors of Paleolithic ancestors.

For the most part, his predictions held true. The upper limit for human social cohesiveness was groups of about 150, and this tended to occur in situations involving intense environmental or economic pressure – like war (Roman maniples contained around 160 men) or early agriculture (Neolithic farming villages ran about 150 deep, and 150 members marked the point at which Hutterite settlements typically split apart). Any higher, and it’d be too costly and require too much social “grooming” to maintain the group.

The hunter-gatherer existence self-regulates tribal size, really. Too few members make hunting unfeasible (as fit as he was, Grok wasn’t taking down a buffalo by himself, let alone lugging it back to camp), and foraging becomes more effective the more hands you commit to the task. A HG group had to be mobile and lean, able to follow the game when it moved. It had to be socially cohesive; people had to coordinate hunts, forage outings, and divvy up food. A large, ranging, sloppy group would mean more weak links, and in a social framework where every member was integral to the success of the whole, it simply wouldn’t work out. As we see with the Hutterites, a hunter-gatherer tribe that got too big for its britches would simply become two hunter-gatherer tribes rather than languish and fail.

(Overstepping Dunbar’s number might also increase stress. We clearly see that in farm animals. Increasing group size past optimal levels increases damaging behavior indicative of stress: feather pecking in hens and tail biting in pigs. No, we are neither pigs nor chickens, but we’re still sensitive to our environments.)

Okay, so there appears to be a limit to the number of people with whom a single person can maintain stable, rewarding relationships based on the size of the neocortex. This isn’t a time constraint thing here. If Dunbar is right, it’s an actual self-limiting brain mechanism forged 250,000 years ago that persists today. Agriculture no doubt pushed the limits by forcing us into crowded villages, but it’s only recently that our social networks have undergone another, even more drastic shift in size and composition: social media.

Facebook, Twitter, even regular old email are all forcing us into novel areas of social networking. We aren’t living in villages or tribes or bands. We’re running into childhood friends from thirty years ago. We’re getting text messages from twenty different acquaintances on a single day. Are we equipped to handle this sort of thing? Are we negatively impacting the quality of our social interactions? Are we spreading ourselves too thin? (See Dunbar’s take here.) Or does the new media allow us to transcend, or tinker with, previously immutable biological limitations? Maybe. I’m reminded of how working memory (a theoretical concept that’s beginning to replace short-term memory in some circles, working memory describes the temporary storage of information for immediate cognitive tasks like learning, reasoning, and calculating). As with short-term memory, most people are limited to seven or so “chunks” of working memory data. A chunk might be a single digit, a single word, or even a concept, but a few people can use advanced encoding techniques to expand the scope of each chunk. Where one person might be able to repeat seven digits from normal working memory, another might encode each chunk to include sequences of four or five numbers. This allows them to remember seventy numbers instead of seven, and they’re using the same brain stuff as everyone else. The neurological bandwidth hasn’t increased – their brains don’t physically grow larger – but they utilize the available bandwidth with greater efficiency.

Maybe Facebook and other social media offer the chance to make greater use of the available “socializing chunks” in our brain. Like with working memory, the seven chunks of available bandwidth are always going to be there, but it’s what you put inside that matters. Perhaps tools like Facebook allow us to “store” information on friends and family without taking up valuable mental real estate. I don’t think that’s “good” or “bad.” Hell, the reason we developed the written word was to avoid having to remember minutiae.

Maybe we still adhere to Dunbar’s number without really paying attention. I mean, it’s easy to tally Facebook friends into the thousands without actually knowing them. Adding a friend is almost an afterthought; is it really harmful, stressful, or contrary to our evolutionary social framework if we add an old acquaintance to our friend list and then never speak to them?

Problems arise, I think, when the virtual social network displaces the tangible one. Chatting online or through email is different than face-to-face interaction. Everything is calm and measured. There’s little room for incidentals, mistakes, or awkward pauses. You lose the physical contact and the body language cues. Emoticons can never replace emotive expression. As long as we maintain physical contact with friends, family, and loved ones, using online or virtual tools to augment the “real” relationships can only be helpful. Last week, for example, I met up with Brent Pottenger and Aaron Blaisdell, two regular commenters, in person. We established an online relationship, which has transitioned into an “actual” real world social network. PrimalCon is another great example. Without MDA there wouldn’t be a PrimalCon to bring this virtual community together in person. The Primal Blueprint is all about merging evolutionary truths with modern technology; it’s about cherry picking the best stuff from past and present.

Social media allows us to overstep our neurological social sphere boundaries. When it comes to diet, sunlight, sleep, stress, and physical exertion, I think we agree that sticking to ancestral, evolutionary precedent is the best policy, but that doesn’t have to apply to social networks. I guess I’m cautiously optimistic about the use of “social supplements” like Facebook or email. Overstepping our natural bounds is essentially what makes us human, after all. We just have to be smart about it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up with a comment and thanks for reading!

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

113 Comments on "Are Humans Hard Wired For A Limited Social Circle?"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
shastagirl
shastagirl
6 years 6 months ago

first?

shastagirl
shastagirl
6 years 6 months ago

yay! i dunno about anyone else but i dont enjoy a huge social circle myself. i have my select few people i like to hang out with. i feel uncomfortable in large crowds.

Chaohinon
6 years 6 months ago

This is why national politics is such a zoo (well, one of many reasons). Trying to squeeze 300 million people into the same homogeneous group does not, and will not ever work.

chris
chris
6 years 6 months ago

That is really good enough reason to peruse political ideologies that value local decision making over centralized control. Ironically the very same people who bemoan our loss of liberty consistently work toward nationalizing more and more. Local control is liberating and also very primal.

Timothy
6 years 6 months ago

This is the kind of well-sourced anthropological theorizing that hooked me on this site and kept me here until I went totally ape for the Primal Blueprint.

Having immersed myself in online media at the tender age of 12, and still pecking away 12 years later, I definitely agree that online social interaction is a pale shadow of the real thing. But then, the quality of people you meet that way is far better than random geographic chance.

Thanks, Mark, for some intriguing ideas to ruminate over today!

Kev
Kev
6 years 6 months ago

Interesting, I just took a look at my Instant messenger contact list at work 152 contacts. Coincidence?

Tara
6 years 6 months ago

I deleted my facebook about a month ago because it was becoming more stressful than fun. I felt like it made me feel like I had to “keep up with Joneses” and compared myself to people from my past. I realize thats not necessarily the problem of facebook in general, but I have been feeling SO much better since I deleted it! There is a reason that so many of my “facebook friends” weren’t still my friends in real life, I’d rather stick to real life personally 🙂

Kishore
Kishore
6 years 6 months ago

Tara, with people who have more virtual friends than real and are updating their facebook status every nanosecond, you are definitely in the minority, in a good way. There is research to point out that keeping your cell phone with you all the time and wearing it around your waist can increase stress levels and negatively effect androgen levels.

Tara
6 years 6 months ago
I can totally understand the cell phone research! I went to Nigeria for two weeks and couldn’t bring my cell phone (for obvious reasons) and at first I was like, what am I going to do without it?? Then after a day or two, it was a RELIEF! I loved that people couldn’t just get a hold of me whenever they pleased! It was liberating. I do, however, have an iPhone now (technology OVERLOAD much??) but I’ve learned to balance how much time I spend on it and will sometimes just turn it on silent and stick it in my… Read more »
Todd
6 years 6 months ago
I agree with both of you 100%. There are millions of people who are constantly on facebook, updating there status, adding 100 pictures, this and that. Most of them end up stressed out because they spent so much time on the damn internet! Unfortunately, my mother just got onto facebook. I say this for now (unfortunately) because for the first 1-2 weeks she was on it for possibly 5 hours a day on average. She is on it much less now, but damn… I have contemplated deleting my facebook as well. But, I now understand how to use it to… Read more »
Angie
Angie
6 years 6 months ago

I got rid of my myspace. and i dont go on facebook that much. I am debating of getting rid of fb. I don’t get cell service at my parents house so when i go up there nobody can reach me unless though email. 🙂 its wonderful

CriQue312
CriQue312
6 years 2 months ago

I haven’t deleted my FB but frequently tell people who ask to be added that I’m rarely on the site. I think I’ve got almost 500 contacts because I’ve moved a bit and had quite a few social circles. It is stressful for me too so I just avoid it mostly but check in from time to time.

“I can’t wait to visit somewhere where cell phones are not allowed!”
Most of the places I’ve gone camping the reception is non-existent. Maybe spend a few more weekends in the woods? 🙂

Danielle
Danielle
6 years 6 months ago

I just had the same conversation with my husband last night. I’m ready to delete my Facebook profile because I find it more stressful than good. I feel a bit guilty when I can’t keep up with what everyone is doing.

Kevin
6 years 6 months ago

Great article Mark!
I’m tweeting it to my lists.

@Chaohinon I completely agree with your statement about politics. In reality, it is impossible to have one human “represent” large groups of individuals, with their widely varying needs, wants, tastes, and preferences.

I think we are moving into a new age of how societies are organized, more of a bottom up approach rather than governmental top-down, one-size-fits all.

Cheers.

CriQue312
CriQue312
6 years 2 months ago

“In reality, it is impossible to have one human “represent” large groups of individuals, with their widely varying needs, wants, tastes, and preferences.”

With the thoughtful study and factual rationales employed, I’d vote for Mark! He may not know exactly how I feel on every issue, but he’s capable of searching for healthy wisdom and that’s what matters most to me anyway.

trackback

[…] Original post by Mark Sisson […]

Jeff P (P stands for Primal)
6 years 6 months ago
I’ve been an early adopter of various technologies, but did step back for a few months recently to determine where I wanted to invest my hobby time and get the most bang for the buck. Going Primal for me has been great because it helped direct me and I learned so much add’l info online and through making online associations having to do with Primal. Tomorrow night if anyone is interested, I’m putting together the first PrimalChat on Twitter. I emailed Mark and he gave the blessing. He’s unable to attend, unfortunately, but it still a valid time for us… Read more »
FuriousMittens
FuriousMittens
6 years 6 months ago

For a hilarious explanation of Dunbar, read David Wong’s Monkeysphere:
http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html
(Warning: some NSFW words, and a few jokes that could be considered…adolescent)

Agatsu
Agatsu
6 years 6 months ago
Great article! I work in technology and find myself turning the electronics off when I get home from work to avoid overload. I think capacity for using the tools is somewhat dependant on when you are exposed to them. It also presents a “double-edged sword” scenario as well. Kids take to new technology like little sponges, but it is a major danger to their long term well-being if the use of technology stunts their real world social growth. I do presentations for parents on how to keep their kids safe online, and a lack of real world socialization is a… Read more »
trackback

[…] Original post by Mark Sisson […]

Jenn
Jenn
6 years 6 months ago
Thank you, thank you, thank you Mark for this article! I’ve often thought myself an oddity because my friend network is so small. I added up those that jump to mind as true friends and it came to 10! I’ve often wished to be that outgoing, gregarious person with tons of friends and eased through them all… But it isn’t that way at all! I actually go through my facebook once in a while and delete people that I’m just not connecting with. I only want people when I care to read about their life (or those that, for family… Read more »
redcatbicycliste
redcatbicycliste
6 years 6 months ago
I’ve yet to meet someone online that I’ve developed a lasting friendship with. I’ve been lucky in that regard, for I met “the love of my life” who has become my dearest friend, through the comments section of a [now defunct] blog we both used to frequent. Without the internet, I would never have met him, which is kind of sad, because we fit so well together, and he is a very smart, intelligent, kind, funny, and very giving person who lived on the other side of the world. Perhaps, there is someone within the five miles radius from where… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
6 years 6 months ago

I certainly wasn’t bashing online relationships! I’ve met a few people that I keep in contact with; my point was more that I, personally, haven’t developed a true hardcore relationship. I read blog where people talk about the great friendships they’ve made through blogging and I attempted to make friends as well but it never happened. My only point was that I, personally, am guarded enough that it takes a lot to make friends and I simply used the internet as a referense point.
Heck, I have a friend that met her now husband on World of Warcraft:)

Matt
Matt
6 years 6 months ago

Paul Graham wrote an essay that addresses many of the same points as this post. It’s really good: http://www.paulgraham.com/boss.html

Mark
Mark
6 years 6 months ago

According to Eric Jensen’s brain research blog, the number of “chunks” that we can have in mind is not seven, but actually two to four. He cites the work of Corwan, et al. Link is below:

http://www.jensenlearning.com/news/working-memory-time-for-a-research-update/brain-based-teaching

Rob
6 years 6 months ago

My favorite post so far. I am biased having killed my Facebook account and having ate the bird (Twitter) this year…an interesting experiment that has prompted more email and phone calls from friends than any previous FB or Twitter update.

Frankly, “…stable, rewarding relationships…” are difficult to manage and maintain. They require work and sometimes difficult conversations. But are they worth it? Absolutely.

PS. I don’t feel out of touch with any my friends…in the least.

BusyBee
BusyBee
6 years 6 months ago
This is a fiery topic for me, since I lost all real-life interaction with my circle of about 10 friends when World of Warcraft online came out. (They just gamed night and day for about a year, year and a half. I’d already lost several months of my life to Diablo II, and I’ve long since decided I don’t want to waste what I’ve got hunched in front of a monitor until my eyes glaze over.) Comment boards are about the only good use of social media that I have found, mostly because I can hunt for friends amongst people… Read more »
Sterling
6 years 6 months ago

I don’t have a huge social network. I have very few close, intimate friends. I tend to ‘see’ people with a huge social network as ‘working’ others and usually don’t have any ‘best’ friends — very generally speaking — but rather lots of acquaintances. I think we are built for close, personal relationships but that those are rare and special. Very interesting topic Mark.

Fury22
6 years 6 months ago
To play devil’s advocate here, sometimes having a huge social network is a good thing. “Working” others is a skill that can be very important and critical, especially in business. I, like you, have a very few people that are my friends TBH. However, I am friends with people who have huge social circle. One of my friends, I swear he knows people EVERYWHERE. He has some of the best people skills of anyone I have ever met, and he’s only 23. At this point, he could pretty much go anywhere and do anything, assuming he wants to. He does… Read more »
Doug
Doug
6 years 6 months ago
Wow, This was such a good article. I am a facebook member, and boy do I struggle with it. It causes me stress as well. If you have too much time on your hand, it becomes very addicting. The hard part is, sometimes their is good that comes from it. Interesting observations, posts, etc. But for the most part, its time consuming and frustrating to see the same people talking about their lives all the time. Its as if, they don’t have anyone else to talk to, so they update their statuses. Jeez, I dunno. I’ve deleted some people, including… Read more »
trackback
6 years 6 months ago

[…] 9, 2010 in Uncategorized Paleothinking. Sponsors Big 2009 […]

Selfactual
Selfactual
6 years 6 months ago

Ricardo Semler used evolutionary psychological principles such as Dunbar’s number to create a fantastic business in Brazil:Semco.

isaac
isaac
6 years 6 months ago

This post really struck a chord with two others that came up in my Reader today:

The guy at Zen Habits before has written about how large social networks are a drag on our attention. Here’s what he wrote yesterday:
http://mnmlist.com/facebook-friends/

Even better is what the writer of Whole Health Source had to say about this yesterday:

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/03/paleolithic-mind.html

Very thought-provoking stuff.

Suzan
6 years 6 months ago

Very interesting topic, thanks. I tend to agree.

Keith McNeill
Keith McNeill
6 years 6 months ago

Why couldn’t we be working to increase the size of our brain through a greater number of social interactions. Heard a guy from Cambridge Uni talking about this a while ago. Being a teacher I’m exploiting the web and social networking to help students make connections. My feeling is that all this web stuff is the beginning of an evolutionary step.

Donn
Donn
6 years 6 months ago

This has somewhat to do with the social networking thing, but can there be a rule barring “first!” comments?

Aaron Blaisdell
6 years 6 months ago
Nice post, Mark. And thanks for the mention. I tend to use facebook as a way to spread the primal/paleo word, share snapshots of family or delicious meals I’ve made, & etc. I also use it very sporadically, with a couple of days of frequent updates or browsing FBF pages interspersed among long stretches of little to no use. It never stresses me out. I used to be very outgoing and have a lot of friends with whom I hung out quite frequently, but having kids put a damper on that! Now my home and social life revolves around my… Read more »
epistemocrat
6 years 6 months ago

There’s a fascinating level of positive serendipity at play in the social connections that have emerged in my life when technology tools are engaged, limited, and nurtured in the right, balanced way. We just have to be strategic about it all and recognize the dynamics that Mark captured nicely in this essay.

Best,

Brent

Girl Gone Primal
6 years 6 months ago

I teach 300 individuals per year… And I have to know them so incredibly well that I could tell their parents what the kid had for lunch three weeks ago (/exaggeration). I’d love to forward this article to the education policy-makers in Australia! And that’s outside of all the people I know through other outlets… Strangely enough, I don’t find that stressful.

jazzwyld
jazzwyld
6 years 6 months ago
I think that’s a great article. I’m a tech person and a programmer. All systems have limits. Now there are ways to cheat particular systems to allow them to hold more data than they could in a standard configuration. I think nowadays we compartmentalize our groups of people. I have the people I snowboard with, my industry friends, camping friends, etc etc. I made the mistake a couple years ago and combined all of my friends at one of my parties..it was a cluster f***. I couldn’t put out one fire before the next one began. I think if we… Read more »
Al Kavadlo
6 years 6 months ago

This is a great article , Mark. And to think–I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t clicked the link on facebook!

Miss Alpha
6 years 6 months ago

I’ve known this for years. I can only handle about 10 close relationships at any given time. Most of my family can only handle 2 or 3; a lot of loner types in the mix. This is why it pays to be *very* selective in who you spend your time and energy on. Who do you want to hunt with in life? Who has your back in a fight against real predators? Who will share with you when food and shelter is scarce?

Great post!

Andrea
Andrea
6 years 6 months ago

What an interesting way to look at friend selection!

Christina
Christina
3 years 23 days ago

Wow! Your perspective is bang-on, I hadn’t thought it it that way! But it’s so true- who would I want to hunt with in life? Who would have my back if it came down to it?

Claire
Claire
6 years 6 months ago

Social interactions are wonderful. But online interactions aren’t very social. If they’re used to set up face to face interactions, or to spread a message, promote a business, etc, then it’s all fine and good.

But if you’re talking to your friends online for 3 hours, and none of you have anything important you’re doing, then get off your butts and hit the outdoors, go to a bar, swim naked, play leap frog. Life’s not going to live itself.

I’ve heard people say “Lol” in real life, and not on purpose.

Eyeshield9
Eyeshield9
6 years 6 months ago

I actually “Cap” my friends at 300, 100 limited, about 160 “normal”, 20 “Level 1s’ and about 10 or so “Family”

If I add a new friend, I have to delete an old one. 🙂

Don Wiss
6 years 6 months ago

How timely! In this NY Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/health/10flu.html

It refers to Hutterite communities in Canada. A quote:

“…they live in communities of up to 160 people, own everything jointly, attend their own schools, eat in one dining hall and have little contact with the outside world.”

Adam Saltzberg
Adam Saltzberg
6 years 6 months ago

Hey I posted something about this same guy a while back! Mark, did you happen to see it? I think it was in response to a comment by Richard Nikoley, but I can’t remember the name of the article on which we both commented. Anyhow, glad to see you’ve discovered the awesomeness of Dunbar’s Number and its applications in modern life!

Adam Saltzberg
Adam Saltzberg
6 years 6 months ago

Wait I just found it! http://www.marksdailyapple.com/health-benefits-altruism/
My comment’s down near the bottom.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years 6 months ago

You find Dunbar’s number all over the place. An Army squad, a fundamental unit for team functions, is 10 men. A company, the smallest unit that operates fully independent, is about 120 men.

Mark
Mark
6 years 6 months ago

I was just going to post that very observance. Infantry soldiers definitely form increasingly tighter-knit bonds with their smaller groupings, from the company level (I barely knew some guys in my company), to the platoon, to the squad, and right down to the fire team (4 guys).

Jose
Jose
6 years 6 months ago

I for one am for social networking and media.If it wasn’t for sites like this one and Facebook, the Seattle Primal BluePrint Group would not have existed. We’ve used it to our advantage in helping build a strong community that fosters the same ideas about healthy living and we also provide support for one another. We’re meeting again on the 20th for another fun time were personal interaction takes over where online interaction stops.

mike
6 years 6 months ago

I’d wager that if you did a compilation of everyone’s Facebook, you would come out with an average of 150 to 200 ‘friends’, (bearing in mind that many peoples ‘friends’ are folks they ‘un-grouped’ years ago, and there is peer pressure in younger Facebookers to have more friends) of which the most people probably keep in touch with 12 close friends on a regular basis….? Its all monkey business!

Philipp H
Philipp H
6 years 6 months ago

I like your cherry-picking quote. Neither full immersion in online social circle nor total reclusion is the way… it’s viable to keep the golden mean!

M.H.
M.H.
6 years 6 months ago
This was a great read, thanks for writing it, Mark. Actually, according to some new research ( http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=84441 ), it might be more correct to say that the size of the working memory is 4 chunks rather than 7. This is because 4 is the result that has been found through research in which using chunks larger than one was not possible. The difference between the results comes from the fact that we tend to try and form chunks as large as possible. For instance, if I was asked to remember the code MH10PBC, I would not remember it as… Read more »
LV
LV
6 years 6 months ago
I must be one of the very few people in the 15-40 demographic who’s never had a facebook account! Not from any kind of deliberate resolve but simply because it’s never seemed remotely appealing – when friends talked about it it sounded like a non-stop battle that you could never win to keep updating your status with the wittiest comment, add to your friends list… A bit like being back in high school. If I ever feel like I am missing out I will change my mind but it hasn’t happened yet! I keep in touch with friends by the… Read more »
kcurtain
kcurtain
6 years 6 months ago
I never understood the idea that people are so glad when they can’t use their phones because then they aren’t available 24 hours a day. Just because your phone is ringing, doesn’t mean you have to answer it! Whenever I visit my mother, I’m always harassing her about her phone. She thinks if she doesn’t answer it right that second (rather than letting people leave a message) then something is going to go amiss, but then she complains that people are always calling her. If you don’t want to talk to someone, don’t answer the phone, period. People are so… Read more »
Steve
6 years 6 months ago

Just like with anything in life…..moderation. Facebook is no different than any other way of communicating. It’s about how you utilize it and when. I check facebook once a day and post when something is worth interest to my friends and family.

jennyleigh
jennyleigh
6 years 6 months ago
I think things like fb and cell phones can definitely cause stress if not moderated, i like having fb to keep in touch with out of town family but that is basically what I use it for, I make it a point not to add anyone as a fb friend unless they are a relative or if I honestly maintain a real life friendship with that person, everyone wants to have friends but I want real ones, not pretend friends, plus there is the stress of having to limit your profile to who can see what when if you only… Read more »
Doug
Doug
6 years 6 months ago
Great discussion. I think the majority of us realize, that its more important to focus our limited time on real relationships in our lives…family, and close friends, and anything that makes us better people, for our own sanity as well as ohers. If it wasn’t for social media, alot of the businesses wouldn’t have the exposure. MDA for example. The more hits, the more potential for selling books, and supplements. WHICH IS A GOOD THING. This is stuff we need to spend our time and money on. Anything that improves our quality of life. As for reading peoples hourly or… Read more »
trackback

[…] Food for thought: Does modern social media change the limitations of Dunbar’s number and healthy group size? […]

JStrick
JStrick
6 years 6 months ago

Not to be too controversial but Jesus had the twelve disciples, and then a larger group of people he wasn’t as close to.

Funny how it reflects the studies also.

Great post as always Mark!

Suzan
Suzan
6 years 6 months ago
I really loved this post, Mark. It brings up some very interesting and important ideas. I don’t have any profound thoughts to add, just some comments. I use FB to keep up with out of town friends and family, and a few online “friends” I “met” through common interests. I don’t do Twitter. I read and participate in a couple of online forums. I hate my cell phone and don’t talk on it much. But still, it can get quite overwhelming sometimes. The other day, I deleted 100 “friends” from my Facebook account after I realized that I barely knew… Read more »
Dineen
6 years 6 months ago

Nothing feels more gratifying than connecting with someone face to face in an intimate way; something that you can never get from social media or being on the computer/cell phone… what am I still doing on here! Time to head out into the REAL world 🙂

trackback

[…] Are Humans Wired for a Limited Social Circle […]

Multi Wing
6 years 6 months ago

I wonder if we have the same tendency with people. Nowadays people go into schools with 500 to 1000 children and stroll in cities with millions of people. In these circumstances, it is no a wonder if rather than perceiving people as individuals, we have come into a world full of stereotypes and categories for people, forming several into one.

wpDiscuz