I haven’t read the source and admit I’m uneducated on Dunbar’s assumption that our brains can only handle 150 relationships.
No matter how he comes up with that number.. he didn’t include all the tools we have today.
Let’s stipulate that we are using a new defination of friendship. There are limits to how many people we can spend time with in person.. but so what?
When I get a tweet from a Twitter friend I talk to every day who says “I hope we get to meet some day” I’m a bit confused.
“Didn’t we meet last year?”
“No, I mean “in person”
“Yes, that would be nice.. but would be be closer friends?”
Put simply, our minds are not designed to allow us to have more than a very limited number of people in our social world. The emotional and psychological investments that a close relationship requires are considerable, and the emotional capital we have available is limited.
Indeed, no matter what Facebook allows us to do, I have found that most of us can maintain only around 150 meaningful relationships, online and off — what has become known as Dunbar’s number. Yes, you can “friend” 500, 1,000, even 5,000 people with your Facebook page, but all save the core 150 are mere voyeurs looking into your daily life — a fact incorporated into the new social networking site Path, which limits the number of friends you can have to 50.