I wonder: has there been any research done on Dunbar’s number and the number of people that one follows on Twitter?
For those who don’t know, Dunbar’s number is, “a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.” The magic number that is often used is 150, but it was theorized to be somewhere between 100 and 230.
I’ve written about Twitter on here on a number of occasions, specifically about the people that I follow on Twitter, (which has grown quite substantially since my last “Who To Follow” post). I follow more than 350 accounts on Twitter, but I don’t necessarily follow them all with the same attention. Of course, Dunbar would tell us that this is unlikely. Over the summer, I found I had more time to create lists (at one point pushing up against the maximum number of lists that Twitter allows: 20) and manage the people I follow in this way.
Once classes started up again, the amount of time I had to dedicate to this endeavor severely shrank. I’ve pared back the number of lists I have and pared back the number of people on those lists. The other day, I went and counted the total number of accounts on those lists: 210.
On that note, it looks like I’m right in the range of Dunbar’s number. To be honest though, I know that all 210 of those accounts don’t tweet with the same frequency, which is probably a good thing for me. If they did, I might find it harder to keep up with what they are all saying.