400 friends? Confirm or ignore?

I recently had a facebook friend post a celebratory post about reaching 400 friends. Of course, comments of congratulations followed this. However, I could not help but wonder how many of the people he would recognize or speak to if he met them on the street?

A recent blog posted by Dion Hinchcliffe lists the twenty-two power laws of the emerging social economy. I found it interesting that number 3 was Dunbar’s Law that states we can only have 150 active connections. With more than 10 social networking options available, I think of people who have more than 150 connections on each network. For example, on my LinkedIn network, I only have four connections with two group memberships.

So, how many connections do I need? Personally, I have 148 friends in Facebook. In September, Wired published an article explaining where you could purchase Facebook and Twitter friends. Most of my connections are personal connections made through education and church settings. However, I did use my friends list recently to distribute a survey for a course. Because of their feedback, I was able to focus the instructional design of my unit.

The Facebook Song seems to summarize the feelings of the growing population of social networkers. With the number of social networking sites and connections increasing, are social interaction skills beginning to suffer? I love the thought of being able to connect with high school friends or college friends. However, when you begin to suffer withdrawl symptoms because of lack of Facebook time, there is a greater problem.

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  • Have you suffered facebook or social networking with drawl?
  • How many social networking connections do you have?
  • How do you use these connections personally and professionally?

Guest blogger:  Jamae Allred is a former preschool teacher of six years. She enjoyed working with children from three to five years old. After completing her Masters of Science in Education in Early Childhood, she taught undergraduate early childhood courses for one year. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in instructional design & technology at the University of Memphis. Her research interests include online education and e-Learning influences in the early childhood arena. She plans to teach in higher education after completing her degree.