Cyber Tribalism?

Cyber Tribalism?

Informally, tribalism is a mode of conformist thinking where people exhibit strong loyalty to their tribe, party, team or group while holding prejudicial opinions of those belonging to other tribes. It is argued that tribalism has provided an evolutionary advantage to human beings, therefore the human brain is oriented towards tribalist behavior.

In the modern world, there are two ways to view tribalism. The first, as a primitive, irrational and divisive tendency to hold one's own group superior to all others under all circumstances. This is probably best exemplified in things like religious exclusivism, American exceptionalism or soccer games. On the flip side, tribalism can be viewed as a positive force where small groups of people are more likely to cooperate, personally interact, assist each other, solve problems and keep each other safe. Numbers vary according to different studies, but the human brain is capable of personally interacting with and having consideration for, at most, 150 to 300 individuals.

Neotribalism is a modern concept that holds, "human beings have evolved to live in tribal society, as opposed to mass society, and thus will naturally form social networks constituting new tribes". Although that makes sense, civilization is heading the other way, with populations flooding into cities. "8,500,000 lonely people" is another way to describe New York City. I don't think there are too many people with a tribe of 150 or more people in NYC.

150, Dunbar's Number, "is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships". Studies claim that even on social media like Facebook, we meaningfully interact with, at most, about 150 friends. The question becomes, how meaningful is online social media interaction? Does our online tribalism imply a mutually vested relationship with our tribe, or is it simply virtual, shallow and volatile? Are "online friendships", friendships?
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