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Showing posts from June, 2011

Bridging the Gap: Authority, 150 connections, and the Power Law

---150 Connections: The difference between a Community and an Audience--- I found myself in a conversation with friend and sometimes mentor, Nathan Hughes ( @ndh313 ), about the upper bound of one's social connections. Back in the 90's Robin Dunbar proposed an upper limit of around 150 real social connections (knowing who a person is and what their relationship is to you). Scientists have recently used Twitter as a laboratory to confirm that this number holds true , even with all the recent advances in social networking technology. This number has also been confirmed by actual practice throughout the range of human experiences , from hunter-gatherer societies to corporate organizations, to the U.S. military. In our new social media landscape, this limit seems to manifest itself in two interesting effects: Most of you have probably already observed the first effect, and it is unlikely to surprise you: those of us who follow hundreds or thousands on Twitter or Facebook will