We came across this study from US-based Forrester research today. It charts the average number of friends on Facebook and MySpace and the number of people the average person follows on Twitter. Of course, these figures have been compiled in the US and the UK is generally a few months behind.
However, it’s interesting to us that while younger, Generation Y Facebook users have more friends on Facebook and MySpace, Generation X Twitter users follow more people.
Of course, comparing these charts to similar ones from last year shows an increase across the board. (The research does not take into account platform popularity, so even though favour for Myspace is continuing to slip, those who do use it are making more connections).
Robin Dunbar is an evolutionary anthropologist who studied at, amongst other places, Bristol University. He formulated ‘Dunbar’s number’, which is described as ‘the cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships’, or rather, the average maximum number of friends we can maintain at any one time.
Dunbar’s number is widely considered to be 150.
An article for the Observer in March 2010 suggested that even Facebook cannot increase this number. Is it coincidence that the average number of connections on Facebook is 135? And if so, what happens next?
If you found this article interesting, here’s the full interview with Robin Dunbar for the Observer: