Friday, December 19, 2008

Dunbar Shumbar, 150 mon cul!

I heard people on ScienceFriday talking about Dunbar's Number on the radio today, regarding social networking. Well, I'm not on Facebook, or Myspace, or Twitter, etc, but on my company's inter-office instant messaging system (which runs in a Lotus Notes "Sametime" shell), I have over 400 names of people with whom I communicate on a regular basis. On my gmail distribution list, I've got another 200 (few of them over-lapping with work), and on this blog, there's just about as many people who look at it more than once a week. ...and I am NOT a "people person" (INTJs really aren't) - I'm a word and mechanism and idea and application and get-it-done person, sure, but not really a "people person".

Dunbar came up with the 150 person limit rule, for 3 standard deviations of upper primate brains. I do not agree. I have close personal ties with a few dozen, and extended ties with many hundreds. It's apparently easy to not fit into Dunbar's paradigm or classification system.

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