Cybertribing on the Internet, why we have so many friends on social networks

Two topics that I have seen discussed concerning “friendships” in  social networks:
– Why do you have all these “friends” it’s not like you’re going to talk to them
. ever. (and by the way, is “talking” on the internet secondary to talking face-to-face?)
– Is the trend having the most friends, or as some trend researchers seem to be picking up: The coolest kids want less and less friends

. As if it is more status to have fever friends when everybody else has many.


While reading this article in The New York Times (via Putting People First) a thought hits me. Maybe people don’t have friends on facebook to talk to them, but to help define themselves in the faebook tribes

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. As Michael Wesch, who teaches cultural anthropology at Kansas State University says :

“In tribal cultures, your identity is completely wrapped up in the question of how people know you,” he says
. “When you look at Facebook, you can see the same pattern at work: people projecting their identities by demonstrating their relationships to each other. You define yourself in terms of who your friends are.”

Now, the article goes on to find more differences between the ancient tribe building culture and the modern cybertribe building, but the cybertribes are based on a whole different system of communication, so can the statement still hold?

Also picking up on this trial thing is Trendwatching who in their last briefing lists Online sphere under Status Spheres as one of the new status “arenas”:

“In an online  world or virtual world, social status 2.0 is all about who you connect to and who wants to connect to you, tribal style.”
Just a thought…  You can find the article her:  Friending, Ancient or otherwise

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