Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Dunbar's Number isn't just a number, it's the law

So, here's something interesting; 150 friends. That's all we can handle.

I was reminded of something I picked up from Mitch Joel sometime ago on his podcast. Do you measure success by the number of connections, or by the (positive) influence on you can have on those you are connected to.

We could have 2000 people as our friends on Facebook, or 2000 followers on twitter - but if you are paying attention to what they are all saying that's basically giving you more reading and stretching your time. It also becomes about broadcasting, rather than interacting. If I follow 100 RSS feeds - am I really benefiting from them all or (as has been my experience recently) do I only have time to skim the majority and then focus in the *really* important ones. Not sure how we decide that as content changes so often that relevance and importance are such fluid concepts!

Back to the connections thing. If you have 150 friends/followers/contacts, there's loads of opportunities to connect with what people are saying and develop more meaningful interactions. I think I've drifted towards being a broadcaster in recent weeks - as I try and soak in as much content as I can - and also as I process a few things going on in life that I'm not ready to share yet.

As I reflect on where I'm at and in light of the reminder from Seth Godin on his post; I'd rather be influenced by and share my experiences with a smaller group of people. I'd rather be alive in a smaller group than observe the stream of consciousness that a large group would deliver. It's going to mean we can learn from each other and grow.

And that's always a good thing, right?

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