I am currently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. It’s a fascinating read. One of the things that has really stuck out to me is the chapter on Dunbar’s number, 150. This is the number of meaningful relationships that a person can have. Human beings tend to only be able to handle 150 or fewer meaningful relationships. Today, I ran across an article from MediaPost Publications that discusses the way that college students have their contacts broken down.
The study found that the average college student has, “Exactly 87 email contacts, 146 cell phone contacts, and 438 “friends” on social networks.“ What struck me was the cell phone contacts, 146. My guess is that the people in the cell phone are those who are considered “meaningful” relationships.
In this article they add these numbers up to come up with an influence circle of 671. However, I think that the real number is 146. These are the people who will actually respond to the student. These are the people who will trust what they hear from the person. My guess is that these 146 are duplicated in their social media and also in email.
146. That’s awful close to 150. More thoughts on this to come…