This week’s activity focused on creating a network among the students we are familiar with in our class. We brought in a picture of ourselves, tacked it on a wall, and using string we attached that to our picture and a picture of a classmate we knew/became friends with at some point, whether it was through Art History or outside of it. This is what it looked like:
And it got crazy too! Especially with the strings going all over the place. Now to answer the questions, when it comes to what I consider to be a ‘Social Network,’ I do not think I would ever use that to describe my actual network, but rather my online-based network of friends, for instance. I think this is because with the advent of social media, the word ‘social’ gives off a connotation of something/someone that is connected through an online platform, whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn. I personally have never heard of Dunbar’s Number until now, but I think it would be a stretch to have around 150 meaningful relationships, especially if those relationships are ongoing and not just temporary or by default, e.g. with coworkers. I think we generally have way less than 150 meaningful relationships. In fact, if I was to count my own meaningful relationships that are at least somewhat continuous, I would probably max out at 15. 150 would be astronomical to me. I honestly was not surprised by the Art 110 Social Network and the extent to which everyone seemed connected to someone else, or at least to one person. As human beings we must communicate, and we seek connection as well. We are not made to be hermits, but rather a species that connects with one another. So I wasn’t really surprised to see people with more than one strings connected to someone else who had the same issue. My personal number was two for this activity. I met and knew two students through our art class: Carlos and Ali. How many people would I like to have close relationships with in real life? As many as possible, a 1000, if they were actually close relationships. But given the fact that most relationships are not close, I do not actively seek to have way too many relationships that don’t have any real meaning. I’d rather have just a few that are great than have so many ‘friends’ who are unreliable and hard to trust. There’s also the question of acquaintances, and the difference between those and actual friends. I think we can have a 1000 acquaintances but in reality we have way fewer friends. To answer the last question, like many people I have way more ‘friends’ on Facebook than in real life. No one really has 500 friends in real life. Acquaintances? Sure. But actual friends? Highly doubtful. The ties with these online friends is for the most part, quite weak. You cannot possibly have the time to be real friends with hundreds and hundreds of people. And yes, while these weak ties with people can still be beneficial, I think it is still important to make the distinction between those who are friends and those, who account for the majority of people in our lives, who are not.
Lastly, here’s the diagram I made of my own little family: