Six Degrees Of Separation Becomes Four – Thanks To Facebook

Most of us are familiar with the six degrees of separation theory – that every living person is connected to any other through only six friends. According to a recent study, the net may be shrinking even further due to social media.

A joint venture between Facebook and Università degli Studi di Milano has found that the number of degrees of separation can be reduced. In the study of Facebook users, ““99.6% of all pairs of users are connected by paths with five degrees, 92% are connected by only four degrees,” with the average “distance” between users getting smaller as time progresses.

When social psychologist Stanley Milgram first conducted his experiment in the 1960s that led to the six degrees of separation theory being put forward, means of communication on a global scale were relatively limited. However, in the world we live in now, you can pretty much have a face-to-face (or rather, screen-to-screen) conversation with anyone in the world at the drop of a hat. It’s hardly surprising that given the technological advances made in terms of travel and communication, the scale of our social interactions has advanced too.

People are travelling further, and are actually able to sustain relations on a daily basis with those who they have encountered all over the globe, no matter where they may be at any given moment. Facebook is arguably the best way to aggregate and maintain these relationships, so make sure you keep a copy of your Facebook friends.

More information on the study above and some graphs providing visual representation of the findings are available on Mashable.


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