Saturday, August 2, 2008

Degrees of Closeness

So the Kevin Bacon Six Degrees theory has been bolstered by a recent study that shows that any one person's degree of separation from any one other person is on average 6.6.

Everyone you know is one degree away, everyone they know is 2 degrees, etc etc.

But because I have lots of social butterfly friends, I think my degree of separation may be smaller than average. Just think: I have 2 degrees of separation from people in California; Massachusetts; Uganda; Lexington, KY; Rome, NY; Erie, PA; St. Augustine, FL; Taiwan; Russia; Ireland; Toledo, OH; Indianapolis, IN; India; etc, etc.

In other words, thanks to all my friends having so many connections, I have so many connections! Awesome.

From the article I read on MSNBC: "To me, it was pretty shocking. What we're seeing suggests there may be a social connectivity constant for humanity," said Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft researcher who conducted the study with colleague Jure Leskovec. "People have had this suspicion that we are really close. But we are showing on a very large scale that this idea goes beyond folklore."

Yeah, a social connectivity constant for humanity. That's awesome. It's not an account of how we're separated; it's an account of how much we are connected. And always have been. Leading me to surmise that we need to be close in order to survive. Humanity depends on proximity. People need people. (Go ahead, sing it out loud.)

So I'm happy to be connected to all the people I know, but then I think of how awesome it is that I'm connected somehow to all the people they know, and the people they know, and the people they know. And maybe someday when I'm hiking in the mountains of Peru, I come across someone who knows someone who knows someone that I know. And then, what do you know, I'm invited in to someone's house for coffee and I've made a new friend and a new connection for all of you along the constant of connection.

Yay for us.

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