150? That’s It?

Dunbar’s Number theory is as follows:

Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.[1] Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150.[2][3] Dunbar’s number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size.

Dunbar’s number was first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who theorized that “this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size … the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.” On the periphery, the number also includes past colleagues such as high school friends with whom a person would want to reacquaint themself if they met again.[4]Courtesy Wikipedia

I, perhaps, am in trouble…


My real world community number has shrunk vastly these past few years.   And though I’m tentatively coming out from my self-imposed hibernation, I do not even come close to 150 as far as daily connecting/contacting goes.

However, my WordPress community continues to grow. I currently follow 212 blogs – I’m behind on checking out the blogs of recent folks who have found me, liked and commented (which is the way I find most of the blogs I follow!)

I haven’t visited Freshly Pressed for months now, because my reader keeps me busy and always supplied with enough reading material.

But I’m starting to slip behind in my WordPress activities – with a little less than a 350 combined community of those who follow me and who I follow.   Thank goodness there are those of you who do not post everyday, else I’d never get caught up.


I remember in the early days of my WordPress venture (2010) – I’d write all day and then go over and check out the blogs of my real world friends.

Now, thanks to a system that makes it so easy to find others whose company you enjoy, I find myself sometimes shutting the reader down before I’ve made my way completely through the new posts list.

Which means I’m going to need to ponder this for awhile –

I really believe I’m perfectly capable of sustaining stable reading relationships with more than 150 – I’m a fast reader and WordPress does have that fancy-schmancy Like button to show support when I don’t really having anything important enough to share via a comment.  

But I also know that I’m starting to push the limits of how much I can read and still limit my WordPress activities to less than 3 hours a day (1-2 in the morning, 1 or so at night).

Perhaps, it’d just be easier to build a ‘slow down time’ machine…

Yup, I think that’s the answer I like best.

14 thoughts on “150? That’s It?”

    1. I do believe the original study was geared toward anthropological studies – as in when a ‘tribe’ will start to break down and require more laws/rules, etc. Putting the number at 150 eloquently explained nomadic tribes/family clans and explained the phenomena of what happened when tribes got too big!
      Like dissent, dead-lock in Congress, Civil Wars…..


  1. Wow, 150 seems like a lot of social connections to keep regular engagement with. I’ve often said you can only have a handful of truly close friends (in real/physical life, not including internet connections) because there is just only so much time and energy.


    1. That’s true – I can count my very, very close friends on one hand, but I have a very large circle of those I engage with frequently and show support for – –
      Maybe that’s why I’m always tired….


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