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Degrees of Separation

Remember all that hoopla about the six degrees of separation theory that supposedly linked the entire human race in six easy steps?

Well, new research conducted by the Facebook group puts forth that we are all closer than we initially thought.

The initial ‘six degrees of separation’ experiment took place in 1967 and was conducted by Mr. Stanley Milgram and first titled as ‘the small world experiment’, concluded that on average each person is separated by 5.2 other people, or six steps.

However the new experiment, conducted jointly by Facebook and the University of Milan, believes that we are closer than ever, and in fact modern technology, such as the internet and phenomenon’s like Facebook, have brought this about.

Facebook has over 720 million active users, a figure in excess of 10% of the world’s population, and is the perfect medium for conducting such social studies. A statement by the researchers claimed that ‘while 99.6% of all pairs of users are connected by paths with 5 degrees (6 hops), 92% are connected by only four degrees (5 hops)’. Facebook also claims that the number has decreased rather drastically in recent years, saying that in 2008 the average distance was 5.28, which has now decreased to 4.74.

The concept of degrees of separation is of a rather literary genesis, first proposed in a short story written in 1929 by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy, and popularized by a play and film created by John Guare. This new study seems to prove that we are closer than ever, and getting steadily closer…

By Sean Dudley

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1 thought on “Degrees of Separation”

  1. John Dudley

    so, Sean. How many links between me and Frigyes Karinthy?

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