World’s Strangest

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We’re All Down to Four Degrees of Separation, Thanks to Facebook

You are now that
much closer to Kevin Bacon
. A recent study showed that Facebook has
reduced the "Six
Degrees of Separation
" – the distance between you and any other
person on Earth – down to four:

Using state-of-the-art algorithms developed at the Laboratory for
Web Algorithmics of the Università degli Studi di Milano, we
were able to approximate the number of hops between all pairs of individuals
on Facebook. We found that six degrees actually overstates the number
of links between typical pairs of users: While 99.6% of all pairs of
users are connected by paths with 5 degrees (6 hops), 92% are connected
by only four degrees (5 hops). And as Facebook has grown over the years,
representing an ever larger fraction of the global population, it has
become steadily more connected. The average distance in 2008 was 5.28
hops, while now it is 4.74.

Thus, when considering even the most distant Facebook user in the Siberian
tundra or the Peruvian rainforest, a friend of your friend probably
knows a friend of their friend. When we limit our analysis to a single
country, be it the US, Sweden, Italy, or any other, we find that the
world gets even smaller, and most pairs of people are only separated
by 3 degrees (4 hops).

– via Mashable

Post Metadata

November 23rd, 2011

Stranger to the World


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