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Defying the Dunbar number

Rajiv Jayaraman | Feb. 20, 2009
There is a need to double the Dunbar number to at least 300 to reflect the realities of the new hyper-connected Web 2.0 world. Will you dig that?

So what does this meaningful social hyper-connectivity mean for businesses?

You already begin to hear people say that Facebook feels too heavy weight for keeping in touch with ones network, when one can do the same with 140 characters on twitter. In essence, the simplicity of twitter is winning over the complexity of Facebook. The new Dunbar number will force companies to focus on simple, manageable services that will help people maintain meaningful relationships online.

Business managers have to be keenly aware of the wisdom of the crowds phenomenon now more than ever before. Understanding the dynamics of groups in terms of cognition, co-ordination and co-operation among group members will offer companies great clues in identifying opinion leaders and thus help them deliver targeted ad campaigns. Some companies like Amazon are using twitter to establish meaningful relationships with a sizeable group of followers (one that breaks the Dunbar number manifold), to whom they send fine grained messages for deals and sales.

Online networking sites have thus enabled us to defy the conventional Dunbar number, while enabling us to forge meaningful relationships online.

Hey! Someone is inviting me to bite chumps on Facebook. I am off to bond with my friends.

Rajiv Jayaraman is the founder and CEO of KNOLSKAPE Solutions, a Singapore-based educational software company. He has an INSEAD MBA and has worked in the grid computing team at Oracle, US. He is currently leveraging the power of Internet computing to develop products for the education market.


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