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Rating my life one post at a time….

Six Degrees of Seperation

Chari always comes up with weird topics at the wrong time. Chari, Sumit and myself are walking down the road to have food, when Chari says, “Dude , I read this article which says every stranger is related to another stranger by six different people”. Okie, as I said this was not the right time to bring up a topic like that. Sumit (as suspected) bounced in with the statement (WTF are you talking man! ?), and Chari went on explaining the concept which is commonly known as Six Degrees of separation.

Well, last time he brought up a topic like that, it ended up as a post in my blog. This time, i continue to do the same.

I go to work and dig up more on this Six Degrees of separation.

“Six Degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one “step” away from each person he or she knows and two “steps” away from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is no more than six “steps” away from each person on Earth.”

The above definition is taken from Wikipedia.(I know , it looks like a quantitative question from my GMAT exam). Well,to break it down to normal context, You and me will have six common friends between us. How the heck is that possible ? you might wonder, so did Stanley Milgram a social psychologist at Yale University, Harvard University and the City University of New York. So he started a experiment called Small World Experiment.

Basic Procedure of Small World Experiment :

  • Though the experiment went through several variations, Milgram typically chose individuals in the U.S. cities Omaha, Wichita, and Boston, to be the start and end points of a chain of correspondence. These cities were selected because they represented a great distance in the United States, both socially and geographically .
  • Information packets were initially sent to randomly selected individuals in Omaha or Wichita. They included letters,which detailed the study’s purpose, and basic information about a target contact person in Boston. It additionally contained a roster on which they could write their own name, as well as business reply cards that were pre-addressed to Harvard.
  • Upon receiving the invitation to participate, the recipient was asked whether he or she personally knew the contact person described in the letter. If so, the person was to forward the letter directly to that person. For the purposes of this study, knowing someone “personally” is defined as knowing them on a first-name basis.
  • In the more likely case that the person did not personally know the target, then the person was to think of a friend or relative they know personally that is more likely to know the target. They were then directed to sign their name on the roster and forward the packet to that person. A postcard was also mailed to the researchers at Harvard so that they could track the chain’s progression toward the target.
  • When and if the package eventually reached the contact person in Boston, the researchers could examine the roster to count the number of times it had been forwarded from person to person. Additionally, for packages that never reached the destination, the incoming postcards helped identify the break point in the chain.

The result was 64 of the letters eventually did reach the target contact. Among these chains, the average path length fell around 5.5 or six. Hence, the researchers concluded that people in the United States are separated by about six people on average. And, although Milgram himself never used the term six degrees of separation, these findings likely contributed to its widespread acceptance.

That was Milgram’s experiment. Doing more research across on Six Degrees of separation, I came across this website here.

The experiment is simple. A gaming company based out of UK gave these guys a photograph of a guy and his name “Satoshi” and asked the entire billion users of the internet to find this guy. Not excatly based on the law , but still its the same thing.

Go to that site and get the photographs, If you know this guy or know someone who knows this guy, send an email to findsatoshi-at-gmail.com

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Filed under: Life in General, , ,

2 Responses

  1. Raghavan says:

    phew.. sounds interesting and lot more analysis :) good stuff though!

    i do somehow agree with it! :) good work and post as well..

  2. Raghavan,
    Thank you…

    vc

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