Monkeysphere, Social Networks, and You

On the recommendation of a coworker, I started reading up on the idea known as Dunbar's Number. Quickly stated, Dunbar's number is the largest number of people you can have a stable relationship with. This magic number is supposedly 150 (rounded up from 148).

Now, after I read the first initial Google supplied article on the subject, I sat back to think. How many people would I truly consider a part of my 'monkeysphere?' (Thanks for reminding me SpydaKat) As I began to count however, I realized I was including in this number people who I've never met before, people who I've only ever interacted with on the internet. And that number quickly ballooned past 150.

So, I continued to Google for more articles that brought Dunbar's Number into the social age of Twitter and Facebook. Google sent me to the Economist and an article entitled 'Social networks: Primates on Facebook.' In the article, the author states that while the number of people in our social circles are seemingly growing (whether by IRL relationships or internet ones), the number of people we can truly "discuss important matters [with] . . . is on a downward trend."

Back I went to the list I had created containing the people in my monkeysphere. I reevaluated what it meant to be in my monkeysphere and compared those reasons to my previous list of people. The number shrunk under 100.

Now, I'm not stating that Dunbar's Number is fact. However, it is a very interesting idea, something I will probably think about often as I continue to daily interact with people.

What do you think? Is the monkeysphere idea new to you? Did you already know about it? Does the idea seem to fit your social circles and who you interact with most?