Should social networks limit friends?

(Last Updated On: December 6, 2012)

May be they should.

Because, there’s only so much relevant friendships one can make, right? One cannot remember all your acquaintances, let alone friends. Even within friends, there’s only so much intimacy you can share.

There’s been lot of studies done in this respect however.


A study of 10,000 US students over a period of 35 years suggests the wealthiest people are those that had the most friends at school. Each extra school friend added 2% to the salary.
(Source BBC.)

The average number of friends one can have, is about 150, says leading anthropologist Robin Dunbar.
(Source: IEEE Spectrum)

Many studies suggest that the more friends you have the more successful you become or are.

Facebook, at the moment have a friend limit of 5000. Beyond that point, new friends become subscribers automatically.

Path, has a limit of 150 friends and they’re proud about it. They argue on the fact that one person can only connect successfully with 150 friends.

I think we shouldn’t go by averages.

Though studies show that 150 is a good number of friends to have, I think it would be awfully wrong to assume that it is true in every person’s case.

Some of us are introverts, some are outgoing. Some are talented and some popular.

Each type would have their own definition of what the maximum limit is.

Every body want friends, who doesn’t like to have more of them?

The more the merrier, right?

This is where social networks differ from real life.

Social networks –  however closely they resemble real life, cannot imitate real life (or life).

No body has limits to friends in real life. If at all, you select your limit.

The popular and talented guy would have more friends than the introvert guy. And that’s fine.

There might be guys who wants to make friends with everyone, can equally be friendly with everyone.

What about them on Facebook?

I think its more a case of “limited by technology” – that we have limits on social networks. May be Facebook cannot handle it, in terms of data.

It is, best put, a good reminder to us that social networks can only be an extension of our lives (real lives) but never a replacement.

So, 5000 friends it is.