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This article in Psychology Today that is the basis for this post.

If you have too few “friends” on Facebook people might think you’re a loser. Too many and people might think you’re a social slut. Is there an optimal number?

Comida

Social Sluts are those individuals who would never turn down an invitation.  They will be friends with anyone.

In effect they are a person who lacks the ability or chooses not to exercise a power of discernment to order their affairs.

The actual article follow the post but here are a few of the Key Concepts of Social Slutting

  • In-degree (how many people call you a friend)
  • Heritable in-degree (how attractive you are as a friend)
  • Transitivity (how many of your friends are friends with each other)
  • Centrality (how easy it would be to play six degrees of Kevin Bacon using you in the role of Kevin Bacon.)
  • Out-degree (how many people you name as friends)
  • Connectivity (how often you introduce your friends)

San Miguel is full of Social Sluts. It is a harsh word, but admitting you have a problem is the First Step.

We admitted we were powerless over friendships —that our lives had become unmanageable.

This conversation gives a clue to someone who is a Social Slut and needs help.

Oh, Helen is a friend of mine (in-degree).  You would love her; she is wonderful (heritable-in-degree).  Randy and Evelyn are friends of hers (transitivity).   She knows Doc Sevrinson and his wife (centrality).  She is one of the thirty five people I know in San Antonio (out-degree).  I must introduce you to her (connectivity).  Are you free Friday for comida?

This is the real dialogue or those bubbles in cartoon that show thoughts.

My god he has never met Helen.  I win that one.  Now how can I use this so that he will introduce me to a few people he knows that I don’t know.  Which of her friends should I mention so that he knows how well connected Helen is. Yes, Doc Severinson.  I don’t think he knows him and I will throw in the San Antonio reference as he doesn’t know a lot of people there.  He is so Los Frailes.  So if I introduce him to Helen, he might introduce me to that new couple who teach English in the Campo.  I hear they know Valerie, the former therapist who has written that book Randy and Evelyn talked about at the cocktail party Monday or was it breakfast Tuesday.  No that was with Rob and Toni where I met that artist with one leg who I invited to my cocktail party Thursday.  I do hope he can climb stairs as I invited Gerry and his partner Eduardo.  I do hope they bring that house guest they have.  She was so interesting and Dina will be impressed that she came to my party.  Maybe I should invite Dina too.  Let me see that is 25 people for cocktails with four newbies.  Is that enough newbies?

So begins the slow descent into Social Sluttiness that dominates San Miguel.  Everyone knows everyone or wants to.  Life is one big round of social events until someone says

You know Pete will be friends with anyone.  I think he is Social Slut.

The problem is that comment is made by another Social Slut so it is a bit of the calling the kettle black.

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Facebook Friends: Too Many, Too Few?

What’s the optimal number of Facebook friends?
Published on January 28, 2009

If you have too few “friends” on Facebook people might think you’re a loser. Too many and people might think you’re a social slut. Is there an optimal number?

First let me point out that any perceptions people have of your personal characteristics based on how connected you are in a social network may actually be valid. A study published Monday in PNAS [pdf] reveals that social connectivity is partially genetic. Researchers James Fowler, Christopher Dawes, and Nicholas Christakis compared data on 1,110 identical and fraternal twins from 142 schools and found heritability in “in-degree” (how many people call you a friend), “transitivity” (how many of your friends are friends with each other), and “centrality” (how easy it would be to play six degrees of Kevin Bacon using you in the role of Kevin Bacon.) “Out-degree” (how many people you name as friends), however, is not significantly heritable.

The researchers also ran some computer simulations (using their “Attract and Introduce” model) and found that virtual people with heritable in-degree (how attractive you are as a friend) and connectivity (how often you introduce your friends) created network pattens that matched the real-life data.

The study doesn’t say which heritable personality traits might contribute to popularity, but another paper coming
out in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology does.
Psychologist Alexandra Burt tested the DNA of 200 male college students, put them in groups for the purpose of planning a party, and then had them rate each other’s likability. She found that the most popular students were the most likely to bust the budget or suggest illegal stuff like drugs and hookers. They also tended to carry a variation of a serotonin-receptor gene associated with impulsivity and rule-breaking behavior. Everyone likes the bad boys.

Covering the PNAS paper, Richard Lawson wrote on Gawker, “The way the world works, you are either cool and have 600 Facebook friends, or you are worthless and only have 40.” But is that true? Does 600 = cool?

In research published last year in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (and covered in Psychology
Today
), college students viewed Facebook profiles that were identical except for the number of friends–either 102, 302, 502, 702, or 902–and rated the target’s social attractiveness (without paying special attention to friend
quantity). The number with the best results: 302. Appeal dropped off above and below that.

How can you have, as the authors write, “too much of a good thing?” They hypothesize that “Individuals with too many friends may appear to be focusing too much on Facebook, friending out of desperation rather than popularity, spending a great deal of time on their computers ostensibly trying to make connections in a computer-mediated environment where they feel more comfortable than in face-to-face social interaction.”

So there you go. If you’re looking for an excuse to start trimming nodes from your online network, besides getting a free Whopper or avoiding urgent updates that some guy you met once was super-poked by a Zombie flower, be a rule- and friendship-breaker and do it for your own popularity. Come on, would James Dean have 900 Facebook friends? Of course not.
And he’d still be on Friendster, just cuz.