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Grooming, gossip and getting in touch
Success in cyberspace for an online community seems increasingly related to the amount of time we all have to go online, and the choice of social networking sites now available - For the Plugged-In, Too Many Choices, writes Stephanie Rosenbloom in The New York Times. The digitally fatigued now need to strategize to avoid burnout.
As social beings we need and crave social interaction, without which we risk anomie and depression. In "Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language", psychologist Robin Dunbar linked the social "grooming group" of a great ape with the "gossip group" that exist around each human being - he has established that the membership of each human gossip group averages at 150 for each of us.
So we need to get and keep in touch, but there's an upper limit - then it must be quality rather than quantity that dictates choice. As a specialized social network, an online community offers an overall ready made common interest, within which there will be particular shared concerns that the site can identify, and foster discussion about.
You'll let me know if we are getting it right?