Has Six Degrees of Separation Really Become Three?

I was rummaging through my photos and videos the other day and realized something. There is no more six degrees of separation. I have met people in the last year that have in fact hob-nobbed with the celebs. I have Friends on Facebook being friends with other friends of facebook – And I don’t even know how they know each other. It really begs the question: Is the 6 degree thing really a lot closer than that?

Six degrees of Separation is a movie and a Kevin Bacon game. How many people can you go through til you get to Kevin Bacon? It really started as a movie reference – you would name a movie that had 2 people in it, then you pass through other movies and TV shows to see when they knew Kevin Bacon. Sometimes, you would get to the end in less than 6.

But now with so many movies out and different actors in different roles (not to mention IMDB to link it all), you could most likely find less than 6 degrees there. And the cool part is that it’s not just celebrities that this happens to – It is everyone.

Example: Yesterday I saw a post to an old friend from Facebook. I went up on their page and interestingly enough, another person is both our friends. That seems to happen all the time. I go to someone’s page and notice that we both know person C, person D and so on. My friends have become friends – with my other friends.

And distance is not a factor anymore. I had a friend in TX, but last year another friend went to TX and met that person, then THEY became friends. Social Networking tells me this.

What about Kevin Bacon? I could do that in a couple step easily. I met and talked with Anthony Edwards last October at Blogworld. Top Gun – Mystic River. BAM! Done. Oh wait. Another – Top Gun – A Few Good Men. BAM! Done again.

While I cannot boast 1 degree of separation, it’s pretty dang cool to say it can happen in 2. This social experiment is really showing us that we are more connected with each other.

21 years ago, Tim Berners Lee mapped out the basics of the Internet. Nowadays, that basic roll has moved to a wireless mobile level. But did Tim Berners-Lee think that this would bring us all closer together? Maybe. He did know that we could at least communicate better.

Communication; Or at least the thought you are communicating. I don’t think I would get a response from Ashton Kutcher simply because I follow @aplusk on Twitter and reply to something he says. But it could happen: And then I still have to wonder if that was Ashton that said it, or someone helping him control his reply box.

So I think it’s time to retire the “Six Degrees of Separation” idea and take it down to at most – 3. After all, if you cannot get to another through 3 people, then you might just be a Hermit. At that point, this social experiment wouldn’t even matter…

About J Powers

Podcaster, Blogger, IT Specialist. Been working in IT for over 15 years. Supported Windows 95 upon initial Launch and have worked in desktop, server and Web site support roles. Started Geekazine in 2007 and launched 5 shows from it. Speaker on many topics in Podcasting and technology. Also a musician.