Oh well, that lasted a few months but like all good things, this break too must come to an end.
I’ve been using the Internet for close to 20 years now and I’ve seen a lot of fad sites go up and down almost before you can register a username. Facebook somehow has bucked that trend and not only ramped up it’s audience and traffic over the years, but it shows no sign of slowing down even after crossing the 500 million user mark.
Facebook is the most amazing system ever created to keep in touch with your social circle and discover new ones. You can reconnect and rediscover people, places, and things. The usability of the site is almost second to none. Seasoned veterans on the Internet can use this site along with their moms and dads and grandparents. This site truly has changed us as a people and the Internet will never be the same again. With that being said, I’ve decided to stop interacting with it for a indeterminate amount of time.
Why you might ask? Read on, I’ll explain.
According to Oxford Professor of Evolutionary Psychology Robin Dunbar, the maximum number of social relationships the human brain can sustain at one time is 150. The research also shows that personal relationships tend to expand in factors of roughly 3. Also, while we may have 5 friends we consider our closest, there are about 20 more whom we maintain regular contact with. This number comes to about 50 people. This is all paraphrased from the “About” page on the Path website, a new start-up company that has some interesting ideas on how your online social circle should look.
I read about Path this weekend, before I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I don’t know why but I read this and ran with it. I wondered if the hundreds of “friends” I have on Facebook were doing more bad than good. Giving me this false impression that I have tons of friends and this huge social circle when in reality, it’s probably at most 50, 50 people who actually care about me to talk to me and be interested in my life and have me be a part of theirs. I read somewhere once where if you want to know how many true friends you have on Facebook, post a status update that you are moving and need help and see how many people offer their services.
Anyways, I realized we are all lying to ourselves and making us think that we have a larger social circle than we think and the problem is, when you come to this realization, you realize a lot less people are in your life than you thought there were. This means the amount of people you can rely on, share things with, enjoy life next to, and be cared for, is much much less than you’ve been going by. This also means that when you post an update about what you had for dinner last night or how bad traffic is on your drive home, not many people really care even though you think you have an audience as big as the evening news.
I also question the truth of the friendships we have on Facebook. If you have 500 friends on Facebook and 50 of them are real acquaintances, are those 50 even very good friends to you. I think you’d be surprised. Try the “I’m moving” status update and get ready for a reality check, one you probably won’t want to experience.
With this being said, I am taking a break from Facebook. Let me clarify this. I will not be posting any status update or commenting on anyone’ss status updates, pictures, links, etc. I will be checking Facebook all the time like I usually do because I am always interested in what everyone else is up to. I will be posting to this blog which feeds into my blogs Facebook page but if you want to know what I’m up to (and you’re not following this blog), if you’re really my friend, you just have to ask because I’d be more than happy to have a conversation with you and tell you.