4.74 Degrees of Separation

November 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Posted in Internet, Psychology, Science | Leave a comment

In the 1970’s, Stanley Milgram did his famous “small world experiment” with a group of about 300 people and demonstrated that the average number of people (hops) between any 2 people was 5.2, or about 6 Degrees of Separation.

I’ve noticed more recently that in services like LinkedIn, I’m usually within 3 with anyone I look up, even from other industries. Facebook recently did the experiment again using an algorithm from an Italian university. As they have 721 million active users (!), that’s about 10% of the world, albeit the connected world. They found that 96% were within 4 degrees while 99.6% are within 5 degrees. Within a single country, the average drops to 3. Facebook of course takes credit for making people more connected.
We’re closer than we think.  😉
David

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