Way back when, when I was on Facebook, I had a good amount of “friends” on the service, maybe 350-500.  I can’t recall the exact number, but it was a lot of people from High School, Undergraduate, Graduate, my various occupational peers and a few randoms as well.

On Twitter I have followed 96 people and have 236 followers.   That 96 number is not unintentional; I’ve set the limit of people I’ll follow at 100 in order to “slow down” my stream and be select about who I follow and the topical relevance.  On that service, it’s very easy to follow tons of people that don’t offer a lot of value, or dilute the really good tweets with too many poor ones.  So selecting people to follow is important for me.  Technically, I could use a service like TweetDeck or something else that separates the different types of content and people, I used to do that, but frankly that still seems like too much work for me.

There has been some research on the number of friends can have in real life, and it’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s somewhere between 100 and 230 with a common value of 150 used.  That is called Dunbar’s number.  I think there is a very real human restriction on the number of relationships they can juggle.  For me, Twitter is exemplary of this as it forced me to pare down my list of people to follow.  Facebook was too, I suppose, as at I decided to leave the service because there were too many people with not enough value for the time it took.

The bottom line is that we only have capacity for so many people in our lives.  We should be picky about the people that have a place there.