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You are just 3.5 Facebook friends away from anyone else
The longstanding figure regarding degrees of separation has been six. This has been popularized by the game-slash-social-media-phenomenon Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a concept that attests that no actor currently working in Hollywood is more than six associative steps from prolific actor Kevin Bacon. However, the internet is making the world smaller these days. Recent data from Facebook claims that the average user is no more than 3.5 friends away from everyone else in the world.
That means that even though I don’t know you from Adam or Eve, the odds are good that you know a guy who knows a guy who in turn knows a guy who is friends with me on Facebook. Considering there are seven billion of us running around on the planet, that’s a pretty astounding degree of interconnectedness.
Facebook has calculated this figure using the Flajolet-Martin algorithm. The task was gigantic, considering the social network’s massive usership, but researchers concluded that the world is figuratively getting smaller, considering the number of steps required to get from one person to another was 3.74 on average back in 2011. As it stands today, the average user ranges from 2.9 to 4.2 degrees of separation from everyone else with a Facebook account.
What are your thoughts regarding this interconnectedness? Are artificial relationship exaggerating how close we are, or is this the next step in becoming a global community? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!