Recently on facebook, I creeped a conversation. One of my friends updated their status with, ” ________ is my 2000 friend, you just won a prize”. Another person commented, “congrats”. Is having friends a competition?
I have seen these comments in the past, like “welcome to the 1000 club”. Initially, I thought I needed more friends. I began to think is having a thousand friends too many? Is having 500 too many? It made me think what is the optimal amount of friends you can actually have?
The British anthropologist and Oxford professor Robin Dunbar has posed a theory that the number of individuals with whom a stable interpersonal relationship can be maintained is limited by the size of the human brain, specifically the neocortex. “Dunbar’s number,” as this hypothesis has become known, is 150. Yes, he said 150. I bet 90 % of people on facebook have more than 150 friends.
What does this mean for youth ministry? Are we becoming shallow as a culture that is flowing down into our youth ministries?
I think that we talk about missional communities, but socially are we just unable to connect with the people in our own network? Are we unable to engage people in our own church community? I hope not. I am trying to be more intentional about how I spend my time and who I let in as my friend on facebook. Facebook isn’t about becoming popular, and a lot of my students that I work with are striving for this. This is why I created a youth ministry media page, instead of linking to my personal facebook page. I think that way I can compartmentalize my ministry from my ministry to you.
What do you think? How many friends is too many?