Somehow, there is an evolutionally phenomenon at work that kicks in when a group gets larger than 150-200, the number that social research has repeatedly identified as the number of people that any individual can have a relationship with, first postulated by anthropologist Robin Dunbar, and now commonly known as “Dunbar’s number.“
As humans evolved, they did so in groups of 200 maximum, and there was little serious conflict inside the group, but there was constant conflict with the similar sized groups in the vicinity, even though they were to all intents and purposes, identical, apart from their group membership.
We now have social media seemingly rewriting the rules, or is Facebook and similar networks the electronic equivalent of a genetic mutation?
In a situation where you have many more than the genetic 200 having a sort of a relationship facilitated by the net, what implications does this mutation, if that is what is, have on the way we should be thinking about using, and regulating access to these sites, and what are the implications in the management of conflict?.
These are very big questions for the next 20 years thay deserve more than a passing, and ideaology driven response.