Posted: 8 March 2015
Over the Christmas break I decided to take my real first Facebook holiday since joining the social network site back in 2007. I was sensing the need for an electronic rest and so completely switched off Facebook for one month. I am back on Facebook now but the short absence was invaluable and my approach to it is far more casual than it was before the hiatus.
When one first joins Facebook, their ‘friends’ consist of family and actual friends, and from there, depending on how a person chooses to use the site, they move out in concentric circles ‘friending’ more distant contacts, old school mates, former work colleagues, current and past associates and basically anyone else they cross paths with. British Anthropologist Robin Dunbar has proposed that humans can really only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships; yet the average number of ‘friends’ a person has on Facebook is 388. Plenty of people, myself included, have more than that which certainly doesn’t mean we are any more likeable or friendly than any other person, it probably just means we use the social media site as more of a networking tool. While I have personally found that the more connections maintained on Facebook the more valuable it becomes, it has also meant that my time tended to become more consumed by the lives of every single person I had ever known.