Facebook says you can forget that Six Degrees of Separation stuff because its research suggests everyone is a friend of a friend of a friend – and a half.
That’s right. A Facebook study rolled out for its 12th Anniversary – which it deemed, “Friends Day” as a made-up thing (you saw your video, we’re certain. Creepy, right?) – decided the people of humankind are actually separated by only 3.57 degrees. This means also you are only separated by 3.57 degrees from Kevin Bacon.
Well, okay, maybe just on Facebook.
“Each person in the world (at least among the 1.59 billion people active on Facebook) is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people,” explained the Facebook staff nerds who actually took the time to do the math and work this out. “The average distance we observe is 4.57, corresponding to 3.57 intermediaries or ‘degrees of separation.'”
Seems, sometimes, like the majority of those half-people are on my News Feed. (No, no, just kidding, Facebook friends. Luv ya all!!)
“Imagine a person with 100 friends,” further explain the FB nerds. “If each of his (or her) friends also has 100 friends, then the number of friends-of-friends will be 10,000. If each of those friends-of-friends also has 100 friends then the number of friends-of-friends-of-friends will be 1,000,000. Some of those friends may overlap, so we need to filter down to the unique connections. We’re only two hops away and the number is already big. In reality this number grows even faster since most people on Facebook have more than 100 friends. We also need to do this computation 1.6 billion times; that is, for every person on Facebook.”
Got that? Good.
Now, let’s see…Peyton Manning played college ball at the University of Tennessee. Bruce Pearl was later basketball coach at the University of Tennessee. Got fired. Got hired as basketball coach at Auburn University. Cam Newton played college ball at Auburn…divide by 1.6 billion, carry the 3…yep, works out! Peyton Manning and Cam Newton will be separated Sunday only by enormously huge men…if ever on the field at the same time.
“The majority of the people on Facebook have averages between 2.9 and 4.2 degrees of separation,” say the nerds. “(The graph below) shows the distribution of averages for each person. In summary, we find that the world is more closely connected than you might think.”
Mouthwash, deoderant & eau de toilette all around!