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The Dunbar Number

Cameron Marlow, serving as a "resident sociologist" for Facebook, discovered the following data on how people left comments on friend's pages:

  • The average male member left comments on seven friends' pages
  • The average female member left comments on ten friends' pages
Task 1: Do an informal survey of "friends" and see if these statistics hold.

In this same regard, Robin Dunbard, an Oxford anthropologist, claims that 150 is the upper limit or size for a "cohesive social group." This is the infamous Dunbar number.

Task 2: Do an informal survey of friends in your local social area (e.g. school, community) and see if the Dunbar number holds.

Source: Wired, August 2009