Archive for the ‘dunbar-number’ Category

WWW Science: p2p lending; dunbar number in twitter; and eBay for ideas

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Today, The Economist talks about Science inspired by the WWW (find the article here – it’s cool). From it, few notes on crowdsourcing, on p2p lending, and on the Dunbar number in Facebook and Twitter. Finally, a project idea: eBay for ideas.


Dunbar number & Web 2.0

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Few weeks ago, Jon (webpage, blog) gave a very interesting presentation about his new project “Social Nets“. That talk put me in a rare condition – it made me really think (quite an achievement, given my persistent vegetative state you might say) :) Anyhow, after the talk, I was wondering whether the Dunbar number still holds today

  • ” Several years ago Robin Dunbar concluded that the cognitive power of the brain limits the size of the social network that an individual of any given species can develop. Extrapolating from the brain sizes and social networks of apes, Dr Dunbar suggested that the size of the human brain allows stable networks of about 148. Rounded to 150, this has become famous as “the Dunbar number”.

Is this still true? Web 2.0 tools may have well increased the size of our social circles, right? Probably not! In “Primate on Facebook“, The Economist comments on the analysis done by Cameron Marlow (the “in-house sociologist” at Facebook) and interestingly concludes that:

  • “What mainly goes up, therefore, is not the core network but the number of casual contacts that people track more passively. This corroborates Dr Marsden’s ideas about core networks, since even those Facebook users with the most friends communicate only with a relatively small number of them.”

From  the SOCNET list: