Remember back in the 90’s when the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” was all the rage? If you don’t remember (what rock were you rotting under?) it went like this: You had to list six or less relational threads tying someone to Kevin Bacon. Most of the time, it worked.
Apparently, the game had its roots in some real sociological research that showed there were on average six degrees of separation between most people. A guy named Stanley Milgram published the results of a study he did on this back in 1967 (and smart Peter Gabriel fans will recognize him as the subject of Gabriel’s 1986 song “We Do What We’re Told”). But the six degrees thing actually goes back further than that – to a short story published in 1929 called “Chains.”
Modern scientists in conjunction with some folks from Yahoo and Facebook began wondering if those six degrees still hold true in today’s super-connected socially networked world, so they started some new research in August 2011. What they’ve found so far? That the world is shrinking – it’s not just six degrees separating us from each other, now it’s more like 4.74!
But “4.74 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” just doesn’t sound as cool.