Degrees Of Separation – Degrees of separation no longer has six-degress, according to Facebook. Our connections have been reduced to 4.74.
A new study released by Facebook and researchers at the Universita degli Studi di Milano claim that the rise of modern computing allows us to properly measure our connections on a global scale. They examined 721 million Facebook users, which is about 10 percent of the global population.
Compare those numbers to social psychologist Stanley Milgram’s 1967 “small-world experiment,” which inspired the six-degrees of separation theory. Milgram’s trial only included 296 people in the Boston area.
Using a “state-of-the-art algorithm,” the researchers found that our long-time belief is an over estimation. “We found that six degrees actually overstates the number of links between typical pairs of users: While 99.6 percent of all pairs of users are connected by paths with 5 degrees, 92 percent are connected by only four degrees,” the Facebook data team said in a note.
Some of these findings are just common sense. For instance, as Facebook users grow, the degree of separation shrinks. And while the Internet makes it possible for us to be a few degrees apart, most of your Facebook friends are likely to be close in age and from the same country.
When researchers applied the same algorithm to a single country, like the U.S., Sweden or Italy, the separation dropped to three degrees of separation.