The Same People

Do you constantly hang out with the same people?

The concept of Dunbar’s number is an interesting one. Recently, I have seen more discussion on it and how it relates to social connections.

In short, Dunbar suggests there’s an upper limit to the amount of relationships we can maintain. That number, for the record, is 150.

You can read much more about Dubnbar’s number at Wikipedia.

Mashable wrote about how it relates to Facebook.

Jacob Morgan wrote an interesting piece on how Dunbar’s number is irrelevant and the importance of weak ties.

Chris Brogan talks about beating Dunbar’s number.

Personally, I think it’s all very interesting, but since I’m not a Ph.D., I’m not going to add any scientific arguments to the fray. I’m going to bring it down a level.

If you always go to the same networking events, switch it up. Try some new ones. Meet some new people. Your current network won’t (really) exclude you and you’ll probably meet some new people and learn some new ideas.

If you have a big social network, go out of your way to meet some of them in person or “IRL” (In Real Life – a popular abbreviation on twitter). Often, some of the real-life contacts can introduce you to other real-life contacts.

I have a list of people I want to meet this year, in real life. Some are people I’ve connected with online, others I haven’t. Others are a handshake or two away. It’s an aggressive list but I’m confident I can get it done. To do so, I’ll have to pass on some networking events that are frequented by current friends. In the end, I think they’ll forgive me.

While I find Dunbar’s number interesting, I’m not particularly concerned about managing my 150. I’d much rather venture out and meet some remarkable new people.

3 thoughts on “The Same People”

  1. What I've also found is that when you do go to events that gather groups outside your normal circle, it's helpful to go alone. If you go with your friends/contacts, the temptation (at least for me) is to stick with them or stay nearby to make them feel comfortable. This hampers achieving that goal of meeting new folks.

    I used a new fun strategy last night — instead of sticking with a friend, I introduced him to someone I knew that could be a very valuable connection for him, saw that they got into a conversation and went on my way to go meet more new people. Win win.

    It's super important also to make sure your social calendar match up with your personal and professional goals. I will not be going at as many "social media" events this year as I did last year. While those events were so valuable for meeting those "connected" people, more of my time this year will be spent at events that gather the food and beverage industry, food lovers and food writing communities.

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