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Cheating on Dunbar: Maintaining our growing Social Networks
March 27, 2021 at 8:00 pm CET
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Humans probably evolved in smaller tribes where everybody knew everyone else. Dunbar’s number says there are around 150 relationships we can retain in our heads. Modern life, on the other hand, often takes place in cities. It also involves moving homes, changing schools and employers, and engaging in personal and professional communities. The Internet has connected us to billions of people worldwide. Whether it’s potential Tinder matches, LinkedIn business contacts, or our Twitter audience and followings as creators, we’re transcending that 150 by far. New platforms like Clubhouse are popping up regularly, feeding our innate desire for social connection. And it’s not just about feeling connected, there’s also tangible value, considering great things happen when the right minds connect. There’s also proof that it’s the weak ties, our acquaintances, not the strong close friendships, who can open doors to opportunities.
Still, many of us suck at staying in touch with them, even if we want to. Most of us write down task lists or use personal knowledge management tools to externalize our thoughts and ideas in a second brain. Should we apply the same mindset and digital tools to our interpersonal relationships, or shouldn’t we?
We’ll touch questions such as:
- Is it a worthy aspiration to become a “super-connector”? Are there ways to measure a return-on-investment? How do we balance quality, quantity, and diversity in our networks?
- What are the tools, workflows, and patterns we use to keep track of our contacts? How much time should we dedicate to relationship maintenance with weak ties?
- When does it become creepy or obsessive to take notes about other people? When does it become inappropriate to reach out again?
Recommended pre-salon reading:
- Dunbar’s Number (Wikipedia)
- Weak Tie Theory Definition
- Managing Your Friendships, With Software
- David Rockefeller’s Rolodex Offers A Master Class In Making Friends And Influencing People
- Personal CRM Meetup Summary on Lukas Rosenstock’s blog
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