We always knew that technology was bringing the world together, and now the good folks at Facebook have math to back that up. In a study that the company described as a “monumental task”, Facebook has concluded that the degrees of separation between humans is around 3.57, as opposed to the 6 that has been codified in the popular pharse.
The degree of separation between any 2 people is the number of intermediaries they’d require to know one another. The number 6 had been arrived at somewhat arbitrarily, and had become a bit of an urban myth. But thanks to Facebook’s dataset of 1.5 billion people who use the social network, researchers were able to pinpoint the exact number after a lot of number crunching. And surprise surprise, the number 6 appears is dated – in the modern, digitally connected world, it only takes an average of 3.57 people to connect any two individuals on the planet.
The number appears to have been decreasing with time – when researchers at the University of Cornell had studied Facebook’s then 721 million members, they’d arrived at 3.74.
If you’re logged into Facebook, you can check your own degree of separation here. Makes you wonder why it’s hard to find that one person to refer you for a job you want.