Examining the Effects of Digital Social Networks on New Physical Human Interactions and Social Networks: A Validation of Dunbar’s Numbers


The digital social network of a user, who had undergone two radical locational changes, was analyzed to assess if digital social networks were influencing the ability of the user to create new physical social bonds in regards to proximal distance of existing social interactions and if new physical social networks conformed to Dunbar’s theorem of the social network size limit. The social network data (users equating to nodes and physical friendships to links) was implemented into the network analysis software “Gephi”. Standard network measures were assessed on the three digital sub-networks with the user removed from the calculations. Two separation algorithms were assessed on the network data, the Force Atlas algorithm and the Fruchterman Reingold algorithm. The results contradicted with existing research indicating that existing digital social networks did not have an effect on the creation of new social bonds after a radical locational change. The creation of new physical social networks conformed in part to Dunbar’s network size limit theorem and existing social links did not affect the user’s ability to create new social partnerships.

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Keatinge, F. (2015) Examining the Effects of Digital Social Networks on New Physical Human Interactions and Social Networks: A Validation of Dunbar’s Numbers. Social Networking, 4, 72-79. doi: 10.4236/sn.2015.43009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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