According to our friends at Wikipedia, the original “six degrees” finding, published in 1967 by the psychologist Stanley Milgram, was drawn from 296 volunteers who were asked to send a message by postcard, through friends and then friends of friends, to a specific person in a Boston suburb.
The new research, uh… a much bigger group made up of 721 million Facebook users, more than one-tenth of the world’s population. Technology and social networks are linking us closer than ever. We are now just mere 4.something degrees away from one another.
In other terms, the chances of you meeting your idol (The Dalai Lama? Your president? Heck, you could even add Oprah and why not add Mark Zuckerberg to the mix) is simply 4.something friends away from happening.
We’re not going to get into the way they made this deduction as it goes into some complicated algorithms that you would seriously need to be an analytical mind to understand. Frankly, you’d get a headache from our explanation. To keep it short and sweet, let’s face it, the social network era has provided us with tremendous reach. Any Jean, Pierre, Véronique and Paulette can share ideas with only a few jumps to a large portion of the world’s population and with even fewer steps to the entire population of a nation.
How did we go from carrier pigeons to 15MB/second speed Internet connections? Ideas now spread faster than they ever have, and the pixels of separation between you (in Haiti) and your mentor (on Mars) will become fewer and fewer.
Long live innovation and the digital age!
PG, over and out.