After studying the book Evolutionary Psychology by Dunbar, Barrett and Lycett, I really became interested in the anthropological concept of tribal communities and networking. The concept still remains the same after thousands of years but with today’s online and social technologies, networking has expanded not only from a local level but a global one as well. Today’s technology has allowed us to develop communities on the Internet despite geographic location, state of economy and level of education. The key factor is despite the advancement of technology, the technology has allowed us to be more human and communicate with like minds, another element of human/computer interactions and relationships.
As part of my personal research, I wanted to create an enclosed ecosystem within the newly developed Facebook Group option. The purpose of this ecosystem is to develop social intelligence among members of a community who share interests in both Hispanic marketing and online media. I theorized that unlike a Facebook fanpage or a Linkedin group, my Facebook Group will be more active in collaborating, sharing information and engage in topical discussions because the members will quickly trust each other and eventually communicate with each other not only at a professional level but also at a social level. The group started out at 45 and now it as grown to 150. I’m proud to say that the research was a complete success and it continues to be very active.
According to the book, studies of people’s social networks suggest that we each sit in the middle of a series of expanding circles that progressively include more individuals. Each circle demarcates a group of people with whom we have relationships that are minimum level of intensity. People who are members of an inner circle mean more to us than those in an outer circle, and we tend to contact them more often. The numbers in each circle (which are inclusive of all individuals in the enclosed circles) seem to be relatively stable, although there is considerable individual variation. The circle corresponding to 150 individuals seems to define the number of people we know individually with whom we have a relationship based on personal trust and obligation; the number 1500 seems to correspond to the size of a tribe (those who speak the same language) in traditional hunter-gatherer societies.
There is considerable ethnographic evidence to suggest that the groupings of about 150 individuals that seem to be so characteristic a feature of human social networks are actually structured into a series of hierarchically subgroupings. There may be an important distinction between those individuals who belong within the 150 circle and those who lie in the larger groupings beyond. This distinction seems to relate to our knowledge of these individuals as individuals. The figure of approximately 150 seems to correspond to the number of people whose relationship to you is explicit and personal, with a history of past interactions and some level of intimacy. These are the people with whom you like to try and maintain contact, in whose life histories you have more than a passing interest. They are the people who, you feel, would be willing to help you with a favor-mainly because there was a sense of obligation between you, either because of some level of intimacy or because of an obligation of kinship or fellowship in an organization or community.
Evidence suggests that our social networks of around 150 people depend on intimate personal knowledge of the individuals included in these circles. That knowledge seems to have important implications for the nature of the relationships involved. It creates a sense of trust and obligation that smoothes the process of interaction and, in particular, reciprocation and co-operation.
The new Facebook Group that recently came out proves that Facebook is continually attempting to imitate the natural way in which we humans create, nurture, and sustain relationships. This just shows that the value placed on the digital relationship is more important than ever.
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