Anthropologist Robin Dunbar's claims that the most people you can maintain stable social relationships with is 150. With many of us following people well in excess of 150, is there a way to beat Dunbar's number?

Anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s recently published book,  “How Many Friends Does One Person Need?” offers a theory proposing that the most people you can maintain stable social relationships with is 150. With many of us following people well in excess of 15o, does social media allow us to maintain reciprocal relationships with more people, and ultimately “beat” Dunbar’s number?

Dunbar asserts that the amount of time we invest in a relationship is proportionate to its quality, and that face-to-face relationships are simply unmatched by online ones.  That said, what online relationships are good for is to stall the decay of a relationship – for example, one with a person you exchanged contact info with after briefly meeting, but have not connected with regularly.  In the absence of lunch and a conversation, you can at the very least retweet his last blog post.

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