Monday, November 22, 2010

Dunbar's Number, Aldon's Question

This is in response to a comment posted by Aldon Hynes ::: where he asks "Concerning your number of 300 people to follow, I'm curious about how you came up with that number. Are you acquainted with Dunbar's Number? You should check it out..." And so I did! To bring us up to speed:

Anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s recently published book, “How Many Friends Does One Person Need?” offers a theory proposing that the most people you can maintain stable social relationships with is 150. With many of us following people well in excess of 150, does social media allow us to maintain reciprocal relationships with more people, and ultimately “beat” Dunbar’s number? [PSFK]

Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang said people are increasingly interested in making some of their updates more private on social networks. But, he said, those people can use existing filtering features to do that. He also noted that, on average, Facebook users have fewer than 150 Facebook friends - still within Dunbar's number. [azcentral]

I came up with my "300" target number as representing the maximum number of twitterers I could handle, allowing for the fact that many of them would be infrequent twitterers. The number has proven effective for me personally. If you look at the partial screen capture, every tweet listed represents a person or topic I am REALLY interested in following!

I would reckon that the actual number probably falls within range of Dunbar! I just don't think you can effectively follow more than 300 twitterers at any given time. Well, maybe YOU can, but I can't!

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