Friends, Klout, Networks, and Biological Limitations

Companies like Klout are looking for ways of calculating people’s reach using social media.  The question of course is always the tradeoff of quantity versus quality.

For example, I quit Facebook when I found it to be more distracting than productive.  Yesterday, I cut over 100 people out of my LinkedIn network because it had been years since I had connected and interacted with them and didn’t feel any connection with them.  I also have a requirement that I won’t connect with anyone unless I’ve talked and/or met with them IRL (in real life).  It’s amazing how much of a screening mechanism that is.

But, these efforts run counter to driving up a good Klout score which looks at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and FourSquare (which I’ve never tried).

It leads you to the great question of “how many friends can you have” and the definition of friend versus business contact.  On the first point, there is research that says the human mind can only manage 150 friends which seems to make sense.  In the traditional sense of friendship, I doubt there are a 150 people who I frequently interact with socially.  But, in the broader sense of having a friendly relationship with a large group of people both socially and professionally, I think social media definitely allows you to expand beyond the 150.

But, if technology limited us to our biological limitations that wouldn’t be any fun.  I find tools like blogging and tweeting as good outlets to share information with like-minded people some of whom I know well, some who I know, and some who I’ll never know.  That’s ok.

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