On Monday (Nov. 21), Facebook and scientists at the University of Milan, reported that the average number of acquaintances separating two people in the world is no longer 6, but 4.74.
The original 6 degrees was published by Stanley Milgram in 1967, but only caught on after it was linked to actor Kevin Bacon. “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” was, per Wikipedia, started by four college students in 1994 who were watching “Footloose” during a snowstorm. They realized, after much research, that practically any other actor could be connected to Bacon within six degrees.
The new research is based on Facebook’s 721 million users and, according to the New York Times, took one month to complete using a set of algorithms to calculate the average distance between any two users.
“When considering even the most distant Facebook user in the Siberian tundra or the Peruvian rain forest,” Facebook wrote on its official blog, “a friend of your friend probably knows a friend of their friend.”
Still, some question the accuracy considering the meaning of the word “friend” on Facebook. Users often “friend” people who they’ve never actually met, including revered celebrities, writers and even entertainment news journalists.
What do you think? Is the global village becoming more close knit or just those using Facebook?