According to Oxford University’s professor of evolutionary anthropology, Robin Dunbar, after you have amassed 150 friends on Facebook, any more are meaningless because the human brain can only remember 150 meaningful relationships anyway. Professor Dunbar says this number applies to different societies and has remained unchanged throughout history.
Professor Dunbar’s observation also applies to the current social media craze for followers. Having 10,000 followers is meaningless. The same applies to “Likes” and in many cases the whole obssession with traffic. In the end who really cares and what is the purpose? The only people who care are the people chasing bigger numbers than yours and both you and them have no clue as to the purpose of chasing all these numbers.
Meaningless Numbers Create Meaningless Value
When numbers become the mission, you can’t trust the numbers. Marketers are obsessed with numbers which they use to justify their time, effort and expense. Liars use numbers to create their truths, not necessarily the truth. Numbers are meaningless without being tied to a purpose. Forever businesses have measured profits at the end of each month and then going forward decisions are made based on numbers.
Financial numbers are meaningless unless there is an understanding what drives the numbers. Understanding requires purpose. Profit is not a purpose, its only the result of a purpose. Without purpose there is no meaning.
The Pursuit Of Social Meaning-less
Doc Searls writes: When we say “social” these days, we mostly mean the sites and services ofFacebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and other commercial entities. Not talking on the phone or in person. Not meeting at a café. Not blogging, or emailing or even texting. Those things are all retro and passé. Worse, they’re not what marketers get high off of these days. Meaning they’re outside the Big Data ecosystem, most of which is devoted to improving the vast business of guesswork we call advertising, flowing outward increasingly through digital media.
I love how Doc so eloquently states the blinding flash of the obvious pursuit of meaningless efforts:)
Ever wonder why marketers think it is important to collect followers, friends and “Likes”? The reason is it fits their outdated meaningless purposes to justify the expense of “hunting and capturing” people for the purpose of commerce. Ironically commerce doesn’t really work without a marketplace of willing buyers and suppliers. Marketers are playing the social game for the purpose of commerce. Buyers and suppliers aren’t social nor are they friends. They are afterall simply buyers and suppliers and the important matters of meaning is how well “the marketplace performs”. Performance is a process issue that drives profit not the other way around.
Einstein said “Not everything that matters can be measured. Not everything that counts can be counted and … Not everything that can be counted counts.” Read it again slow and think about whether counting friends, followers or likes has meaning that matters.