Search This Blog

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

SDS Debate: Facebook, Self Esteem & Aiming for 153.5 Friends

Many of you probably caught the research study that hit the Sunday Times last weekend about the number of "true" contacts that people have on their Facebook account http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article6999879.ece).

Professor Robin Dunbar at Oxford University found that although some Facebook users had thousands of online "friends", in reality they only managed to maintain regular contact with about 150 of them.

Past delegates on our "How to build clients' self esteem" workshop will already be familiar with Professor Dunbar's work regarding the relationship between the size of people's social networks and their self esteem. According to Hill and Dunbar (2003), the average size of someone's social network (based on their Christmas card list!) is 153.5. Now, whether that personally makes you feel proud or whether you feel like "Billy-No-Mates", one thing that is clear is that most of our clients' social networks are considerably smaller than this! Indeed the work that I've done suggests they are frequently in single figures.

We have known for over 30 years through the work of Brown & Harris that social support is a very important preventative factor regarding depression and that the size of someone's social network is an important feature of this. For that reason, when our clients have low self esteem we often try and get them to expand their social networks as a way of addressing this.

However we are often rather uncreative when we try to do this. The most commonly used strategy is "getting them to join a pre-existing group with a shared interest." Unfortunately however, this is often one of the most challenging and stressful ways of doing it and many clients with low self esteem fail as a result.

On our "How to build client's self esteem" (http://www.skillsdevelopment.co.uk/seminars.php?courseid=1) courses we explore other ways of building clients' social networks which are not as threatening for them and as a result are more successful. If you are interested in this topic and can be available on 5th February (London) or 12 February (Manchester) why don't you sign up and come along.

Last minute online bookings for these events even have £25 off!

However, prior to the course I would be interested to hear from you about other ways you have used to help your clients build their social networks. Lets share ideas and draw on our experiences. As always please forward your thoughts to me and we will post the best of them on the SDS Blog (http://sdsmedia.blogspot.com/) so that others can make use of them. If you prefer - post your comments on the blog directly and follow us to keep up with future discussions.

Take care,

Paul

Paul Grantham

2 comments:

  1. Hi,

    My name is Heather Jones and I am the assistant editor of Epsychologist.org. I am contacting you today in hopes of developing a relationship with your website; we have seen your site and think your content is great. Epsychologist.org offer a free informational resource to both the general and professional public on several issues.

    I hope you show some interest in building relationship, please contact me at heather.epsycholosgist.org@gmail.com.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Paul

    Thanks for keeping me in the loop with the interesting debate about suicide and now provoking thought on the self-esteem/social network links. My thoughts are that it's quite a complicated link. For many people with low SE, it is indeed an important and challenging project to build up support networks (often not helped by the certainty that everyone else in the entire world has 153.5 friends).

    However, for others the reverse can hold: my closest example is my wife, who most people would think has high self-esteem (though she herself had no interest whatsoever in the question of her self-esteem) but quite a small social network which she has no intention of expanding. This is often seen clinically too: a lady with chronic depression I saw last week has a wide network and the challenge is to help her to slim this down so that she has time for herself.

    The ACT philosophy of identifying what you really value and going for it with whatever thoughts and feelings arise seems a good way of encompassing both 'sociotropic' and 'autonomous' contributors to self-esteem.

    I hope you will continue to keep me updated about the SDS workshops and the issues raised.

    Best wishes

    R.M.

    ReplyDelete

About this Blog

This is our first attempt to join the exciting world of blogging and bring to you all the fresh and hot news about the world of psychology and, of course, about your favourite training company. This is our new enterprise and we are finding our way in this mysterious world of blogging cautiously (but surely...) :-)
We are hoping to move our popular SDS Delegate Debate into this blogging format in the future and looking forward to lively discussions here with you. We are planning to start with publishing already existing SDS Delegate Debates — with comments received from you. Then we'll move to the current news as well as will run new delegate debates there.
Feel free to leave comments to any of the posts — whether they are old debates, the news or new debates. As you can guess — every blogger loves his readers and LIVES for the comments. :-) We are just the same. You don’t need to register in order to be able to comment. You can leave your feedback as “Anonymous”, however, may we ask you to sign you name (or nick) at the end of your comment (even if you are commenting without logging in) so that we know how to address you.
Another useful tool that SDS Blog provides us with is availability of Polls that enable us to find out your views about various subjects. Polls are located on the left panel of the page and updated regularly. Please feel free to vote. You can see the results of each poll by clicking the button "Results".
If you wish to register — nothing can be easier — you just open a Google account — most of you, surely, already use one.
Your comments are read by SDS Consultants regularly and — in many cases — replied to.
The blog is moderated — mainly to protect you and other readers from spam and irrelevant comments.
All posts are tagged — hopefully it'll help you to find your way around there.
Wish us luck and please join the list of our followers.
There was an error in this gadget