It’s a small world after all

Six degrees of separation is the theory that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Incredulous, right?

I mean, how often have you had this happen to you? You meet someone new at a social event of sorts, add him/her on Facebook only to find out you have a handful of mutual friends – exactly what happened with Dana and me. Dana and I are international students from Singapore and we met this summer only to find out we had 25 mutual friends on Facebook! 25! That’s a solid amount!

“Oh! You know so-and-so!”
“Yes, I met her in secondary school!”
“What a small world!”

(By the way, the dawn of Facebook and other social networking sites has reduced six degrees of separation to 4.74. Amazing.)

Watts, however, noted a particular problem called clustering. Clustering means “most people’s friends are to some extent friends of each other”, hence resulting in redundancy. Maybe clustering can explain why Dana and I have an astounding 25 mutual friends. We were from different schools, neighbourhoods and social circles (kind of), but when I examine the profiles and backgrounds of our mutual friends, most of them seem to be involved – in some way – in the media and communications industry. So if we are all part of the same industry, is this truly considered networking? Or are we simply clustering?

To be honest, I don’t quite know what to make of this topic. It’s thoroughly fascinating – in fact, it’s probably the fascinating topic thus far in Networked Media. With the Internet, it is so easy to get “connected” these days. Technology is advancing so rapidly this course probably reviews its content much more than others. While I am skeptical about being six connections away from Angelina Jolie, scientific breakthroughs and technology advancements seem to keep proving that nothing is impossible. It’s almost on a daily basis that I’m getting stupefied by all these new inventions and breakthroughs – look who’s bringing 5G network to mankind by 2020. I wonder what this means for the science of networks, but one thing’s for sure: the world will keep shrinking. I’m just so excited to see what’s in store for our future.

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1 Response to It’s a small world after all

  1. Pingback: Six Degrees | countingletters

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