In her round up of Social Media moments & milestones to remember from 2007 Susan Mernit finds one really tough problem
Susan Mernit’s Blog
Once we scale beyond the 150 or so people a high schooler might know, technology and standards become essential parts of the tool set and that’s the problem set no one has yet elegantly solved.
Since I couldn’t post the comment on her blog (I’m not sure if it took), I’m responding here:
Great post. I’m sure it’s not random that you used “150” as the number
of people a high schooler might know. It’s considered the Dunbar
s_number a theoretical maximum number of individuals with whom a set of people can maintain a social relationship.
I’ve got 2x Dunbar number in Facebook and it is slowly driving me
insane trying to remember who some of the less-strong contacts are.
I’ve kept LinkedIn down but it’s creeping past 200.
This is a difficult problem in that the systems we have aren’t
providing good tools to create sub-groups. Facebook just came out with
something called “friend lists” http://blog.facebook.com/
but it’s really just list management.
I hope 2008 sees a way for us to more clearly designate not just lists
of friends, but contexts in which we want to communicate. I know some
party folks I want to see pictures from, but I don’t care what bands
they listen to, etc.
Not a trivial problem.