Thursday, June 29, 2006

Who are you? Do I really know you?

So the theory suggests that each and everyone of us is separated from or connected to anyone else on the planet by no more than six degrees of separation. To better understand this, my personal friends are “one degree” away from me, and my friends’ friends are “two degrees” from me, and my friends’ friends’ friends are “three degrees” away and so on. But is it true? Have you ever wondered where this theory comes from? Why six degrees and not ten or fifteen?

From a review, the "six degrees of separation" theory, originates from the 1967 sociology experiment by the American social psychologist Dr. Stanley Milgram. In his "small world experiment" in 1967, Milgram asked supposedly random people, from psychologically distant locations like Kansas or Nebraska, to send a document through the mail, to a target person in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They were given information about the target person and written instructions to send the document to someone they knew on a first-name basis who would be more likely to know the target. That person was to do the same until the document actually reached someone that knew the target and was thus only one degree away from the target. Milgram found that while only 30% of the documents actually made it to the target person (due factors such as participant apathy or not knowing anyone that might have a chance of knowing the target), of the documents that actually made it to the target person, the number of intermediate friends needed to deliver the document ranged from 2 to 10, with a median of 5. Five intermediate friends equals six links or degrees between the first and the last person, and this is what inspired the phrase "six degrees of separation". There have been other experiments on this. For example, Duncan Watts, a professor at Columbia University used e-mail in 2001 and similarly found that it took around 6 or so intermediaries for the e-mail to reach its target.

It seems that many are intrigued and some very much inspired by the concept of six degrees of separation. There have been a number of interesting more recent experiments and projects based on the concept. There has also been an acclaimed Broadway play and a movie based on the theory. There's also a game know as "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon". Some of these will be discussed in future posts and then of course there's the Six Links Rule, stay tuned....

Six Links Rule, Paris Hilton

So, according to the "six degrees of separation" theory, you are connected to me through a chain of acquaintances of no more than five others! Small world, huh? In fact, when you think about it, it's really kind of scary. The trick to all this I guess is to try and work out the six degrees, between us, it's just finding those six people that make the link!

What about working out the six degrees of separation between you and the Dalai Lama? Or, if you prefer, you and Paris Hilton or whomever else you might fancy?

Credits:

26 Comments:

Blogger EuroYank said...

Great Blog! Easy to read. Well written. Great colors!

3:41 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Hey EuroYank thanks heaps for your visit and comment. I've only just opened the doors with one post.....how on earth did you find me? Am I the subject of one of your undercover projects?

3:49 AM  
Blogger blueingy said...

I'm already intrigued just by the subject of your blog and this one post. Don't know where you're going with it, but keep it up! :D

1:36 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Hang in there blueingy....enjoy the journey and I'm sure that you'll also enjoy the destination.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Jana Vent said...

Six Links Rule, I mean did you mean to write Six Inch Rule?

7:03 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

No, nothing to do with six inch rules...lol.

1:54 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

I can link to Paris Hilton - my ex team leader at work is the cousin of the Australia Idol contestant who had a one-night stand with Paris! (That's only 3 links - very scary)

4:26 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

That's really scary Diane....so why did he drop her after one night?

4:42 AM  
Blogger Mama Kelly said...

trying for the Dalai Lama:

My husband did website work a number of years ago for a woman who was Hank Azaria's sister

Hank Azaria was in "Along Came Polly" with Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston was previously married to Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt played Heinrich Harrer in the film Seven Years in Tibet, which dealt with the friendship between Mr. Harrer and the Dalai Lama

9:09 AM  
Blogger Leisa said...

I was just going to say 'you'd better hope you are at least 7 away from Paris' but diane had me at 3. LOL

3:27 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Amazing isn't it mama kelly. Like I as I said the trick to all this is to try and work out the six degrees. Hey Leisa....I would say that you couldn't get much closer than 3!!

8:39 PM  
Blogger MC said...

I was in a Creative writing group in University with a girl

who was an extra on the "Kids in the Hall" with Bruce McCulloch who directed and starred in Dog Park with Luke Wilson who was in Old School with Elisha Cuthbert who was in House of Wax with Paris Hilton

I would also like to note that while I came to this page independent of any other blog, both Blueingy and EuroYank both made their first posts on my blog on the very same entry based on Grand Theft Auto... and Robert Loggia was in Grand Theft Auto III and Officer and Gentleman with Richard Gere, who is also friends with... surprise surprise, the Dalai Lama.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

mc et al thats amazing you guys are doing the hard bit....working out the six degrees of separation between yourselves and who ever! However from what you've said mc, I don't quite follow the link betwen you and Robert Loggia and thus in turn to The Dalai Lama. When I chose The Dalai Lama, I deliberately wanted to think about someone whom I thought would be difficult to link with because of the nature of their life......so there you are, it's more than scary.

10:40 PM  
Blogger MC said...

Because of Grand Theft Auto(the coincidental link between your first two commenters and myself)... I CAN find a link between myself and the Dalai Lama in 5 steps using an entirely different first link however... it ends with Richard Gere by way of Susan Sarandon and John Cusack.

Of course, my link to John Cusack is the secret part of this ;)

11:27 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Oh dear, oh dear.....am I missing something? I still can't follow this and I sense that I need to. MC, where is this "Grand Theft Auto" link, perhaps this might help me understand?

11:51 PM  
Blogger MC said...

OK, the first time I ever became acquainted with EuroYank and Blueingy was due to a blog entry I wrote stating that July 4th should be GTA day, and based on the coincidental nature of those gathered in this thread, I drew further coincidental elements together to make the links down the line to the Dalai Lama.

In no way was I trying to make it seem to be a literal connection, but one more rooted in coincidence than anything.

In my second posting however, I did determine a connection between myself and the Dalai Lama... but I purposely left out one connection(between myself and John Cusack).

12:36 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Aha!!! And it was that purposely left out connection that had me, at least, tossed in your second connection.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

well i think paris dumped him rather than the other way around, and apparently recently he had a go at someone in London for bringing it up!

2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

neat, but how the heck do you figure out the six links? Im confused.

tough to figure I guess.

take care.
nubbit.com

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

I daresay that I do not want to be connected with Paris Hilton in any way shape or form.

Nice blog. :)

1:50 AM  
Blogger Billychic said...

I'm very interested in where this is going...great topic for a blog. Right on!

8:29 AM  
Blogger Aunt Jackie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Aunt Jackie said...

Very interesting. I wish I could know this for sure... Great blog so far! Start with me by 'who are you connected to in the usa? In Memphis?' Still more to make me go 'hmmmmm'.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Sadly, due to a problems when converting this blog to Google's new beta blogger I have effectively been locked out of being able to post and moderate comments for sevewral weeks. But I'm back now and hopefully can get back onto this soon.

Thanks billychic, auntie jackie and others for your comments. Hang in there for more interesting developments. Hmmmmm auntie jackie, what can I say!

8:07 AM  
Blogger Aunt Jackie said...

I put a link of your blog, hope you don't mind. Enjoying the read. Aunt Jackie

11:54 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Thanks Aunt Jackie...are we now within six degrees? That's a thought hey! Glad you're enjoying the read. We're all just trying to figure it all out.....perhaps it's just too Deep In the Forrest!

4:39 PM  

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