Do you really have Friends?

do-you-really-have-friendsHow many friends do you have on twitter?

How many friends do you have on facebook?

Are you sure?  Do you REALLY have friends, or are they just another number?

Do you really think that any human can maintain the number of friends they list in all their social profiles? I’m not sure when social networking became a popularity contest, but one thing I know for sure is most of us have more “friends” than we can handle.

I was talking to my friend Simon U Ford just the other day about how people are using these social networking platforms and he mentioned something interesting to me.  Have you ever heard of the monkeysphere?  Basically it states that the human brain can only sustain 150 real relationships.   Anything above that is superfluous.

I bet you’re wondering, “What the Hell is a monkeyspshere?”

First, picture a monkey.  A monkey dressed like a little pirate, if that helps you.  We’ll call him Slappy.

Imagine you have Slappy as a pet.  Imagine a personality for him.  Maybe you and he have little pirate monkey adventures and maybe even join up to fight crime.  Think how sad you’d be if Slappy died.

Now, imagine you get four more monkeys.  We’ll call them Tito, Bubbles, Marcel and CrapTosser.  Imagine personalities for each of them now.  Maybe one is aggressive, one is affectionate, one is quiet, the other just throws crap all the time.  But they’re all your personal monkey friends.

Now imagine a hundred monkeys.

Not so easy now, is it? So how many monkeys would you have to own before you couldn’t remember their names? At what point, in your mind, do your beloved pets become just a faceless sea of monkey?  Even though each one is every bit the monkey Slappy was, there’s a certain point where you will no longer really care if one of them dies.

So how many monkeys would it take before you stopped caring?
That’s not a rhetorical question.  We actually know the number.

The fact is that we are all wasting our time building these huge “friends lists.”  Trust me, I know.  When I started social networking I did the very same thing.  Our monkey brains can’t handle all these “friends.”

Rather than wasting your time on these social networking sites building up your friends list, why wouldn’t you take that same time to build up real relationships that could lead to real opportunities?  Popularity contests should be saved for High School.  Social Networking allows us to transcend all barriers of space and time.  It would be a shame to let this technology go to waste by building meaningless friend lists.

Watch this video to see what Seth Godin has to say about social networking and “friends.”