First the Dunbar Number, now The Bell Number

Unless you’ve had your head in books other than social media, the number of users within a network you can have a meaningful relationship with is 150.  Out of that number that number then drops to between 2 and 8 close relationships.  The key figure is 150, this is know as the Dunbar Number.I’ve got a new one, The Bell Number, which is the average number of social network sites a human can meaningfully manage.  I think it’s four.Okay here’s the list:

  • Twitter
  • Yammer
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Orkut
  • Google Buzz
  • FriendFeed
  • Friendster
  • Bebo
  • Linkedin
  • Ning (I’m with about six networks alone here).
  • Friends Reunited
  • Flickr
  • Foursqaure
  • Gowalla

Those are the ones I know off the top of my head.  Some have fallen by the wayside, some I use still.  But to have meaningful communication with the people on then I rely on the likes of Tweetdeck to manage the important ones.  After that everything else gets shut off from my browser and looked at once in a blue moon.So in reality it’s:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • MySpace

The Bell Number (it’ll be in Wikipedia soon, just you watch 🙂 ).

2 responses to “First the Dunbar Number, now The Bell Number”

  1. A point about the domain – I’d regard any site that provides for a means of communication amongst peers as a social site so the majority of forums and blogs have at least the potential to be part of this universe.Of course whether or not a specific site’s posts and comments are regular enough to constitute a network of relationships is another matter

  2. Thanks for your comment, always good to hear from you.A valid point but I’ve never really classed blogs as social, meaning by their very nature every website is "social" as someone somewhere is going to read it (in theory).I remember wrestling with the Jena RDF API to pull apart information from Friend-Of-A-Friend feeds, raw social connection. Perhaps that’s the name we really need, "social connection networks" working on a permission basis of connection.I don’t see blogs that way, I see them as websites with a decent updatable interface (a bit of a year 2000 view I know).

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