Proof! Just six degrees of separation between us

Proof! Just six degrees of separation between us

The Six Degrees of Separation was discussed earlier in the semester and was reintroduced later with a further look into the existence of short paths and how they can be found. This article discusses Microsoft’s discovery of proving the theory is indeed correct through social media and instant-messaging connections.

“Researchers at Microsoft studied records of 30 billion electronic conversations among 180 million people in various countries, according to the Washington Post. This was ‘the first time a planetary-scale social network has been available,’ they observed. The database covered all the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006, equivalent to roughly half the world’s instant-messaging traffic at that time.”

Researchers in various universities too, have also tested this theory and found that the average number was between 5 and 6 connections. 

“In 2003 researchers at Columbia University in New York experimented using the internet as the ultimate laboratory of the connected world. More than 24,000 volunteers tried to send an email via acquaintances to one of 18 target people in 13 countries, including a police officer in Australia, a vet in the Norwegian army and a professor at an Ivy League university in America. Only 384 of the chains were completed, using an average of four steps. But the researchers estimated the average length in all the chains was between five and seven steps. Facebook, the online social network, has a ‘six degrees’ application to test the theory through the connections of Facebook users. That may reduce a degree or two: Barack Obama already has well over a million Facebook friends.”


One thought on “Proof! Just six degrees of separation between us”

  1. Six Degrees is a pretty crazy phenomenon. I have joined the dark side, (Facebook) as my friends like to say in my comments, only about a week ago. At first there were almost no connections until I friended a few people that I am close to. As soon as that happened my Facebook exploded and just in two days I had over forty requests. After accepting them, Facebook started suggesting so many people I knew from school and other functions that I had completely forgotten about. Not even a week later friends from different corners of the world found me or I found them. Now when I scroll through I find people with as many as 30 friends we have in common that I don’t even know who they are! As you stated Obama has over a million friends I would render a guess that just taking a few random people they would find someone in common.

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