I’ve come to a field of flowers growing in the web. They sit on a large plain some tall, looming giants and others only head height. I wander amongst them and cup a nearby flower head with both hands. I bring it closer to smell, but what I see inside the petals shocks me.
I peer more closely and there within the flower’s centre is a person’s face. I examine this frozen face and along each petal I see there are more images of the same person staring back at me. As I step back quickly, I see that every flower has its own individual, their images laughing, smiling and making each a unique bud.
Under my feet the ground shifts as I see the flowers roots move through the colourless earth. The mass of roots reach out and entangle with each other. They grow in an instant tunneling out multiple paths until suddenly two roots will stop. They twist in a little dance and are then connected. The flowers are bonded, the one to the many and through these connections they live.
You see, we have come my friend to the Field of Faces, also known as Facebook.
Is your Facebook, a wild meadow or ordered landscape?
Somewhere amongst this field of flowers will be my own face. A flower sitting in a small patch, partially neglected. When I go to tend my facebook page I am always greeted by too much information. The moments big and small in so many peoples lives spring up and cover the ground around me with posts. Like a fresh layer of pollen it brings with it the wildflowers and the weeds.
Perhaps I should follow these 5 tips from Mashable that describe how to do a bit of weeding in my little patch of Facebook. Nothing as unfriendly as un-friending, but alternatives to tending away at my page and creating a more ordered landscape to enjoy.
But, how far precisely should your garden grow?
The flower giants with their long spanning roots reflect the possibility of 5000 other faces and a stream of connecting moments that feeds back to us immediately
However, Dunbar’s number is the hypothesis that 150 connections is the maximum number of people we are hardwired to maintain relationships with. How you choose to keep in contact or even find these people has been changed and challenged by this field, where 1 billion faces have now taken root. To what extent this and other social media platforms might affect Dunbar’s theory, is still being debated:
- Some believe there will be no effect, trusting that our evolutionary constraints will still hold fast despite the onward march of technology.
- Some say, the computational brain we have built for ourselves will allow us to break down previous barriers to our social prowess.
- Others worry our capabilities will flounder below even the 150 figure. That the increased reliance and isolation that comes from a social world delivered only through a screen will numb the skills we once possessed to hold this many ‘real’ relationships in our lives.
What do you think?
Let me know in the comments and if you also vote for which quest objective you think I should choose. When 50 votes are reached, I’ll carry out the one with the most votes. A tie-break will be decided based on comments.