Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Scientists At Facebook? Who Knew?

Back in 1967, a psychologist named Stanley Milgram completed a study in which 296 volunteers were asked to send a postcard to a specific person in a Boston sending it to a friend of theirs who would, in turn, send it to a friend, etc. until someone finally knew the person and mailed it to the right address. The average number of mailings to get the postcard to the correct person? Six: thus we had the famous "six degrees of separation." Now, according to scientists at Facebook and the University of Milan, that number has dropped to 4.74 degrees of separation. Their diagnostic tool? What else? Facebook.
With 721 million subscribers worldwide (more than 1/10 of the world's population), the survey was completed in a month and yielded the dramatic decrease. Microsoft had attempted much the same experiment in 2008 and arrived at a number of 6.6 degrees of separation. However, Microsoft targeted 240 million people who regularly sent messages to each other instead of the "friends" utilized by Facebook. Face it, most of us never interact with our "friends," or at least the majority of those people we have friended on the social networking giant.
Still, it is amazing that we are so closely connected.
You'd think the latest "supercommittee" could have been more effective...after all, they were sitting right NEXT to each other and, apparently, didn't talk to one another...and certainly didn't LISTEN to one another.
My Facebook "friends" are more reliable.


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