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It’s a Small World After All

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A few years ago while walking the streets of Chicago, I got lost.  I could see my hotel but could not easily get there. This was before smart phones were so smart. I stopped a couple and asked for directions. Yes, I am capable of that, I like things simple, remember. Turns out the couple themselves were tourists and from Philadelphia no less!  Small world.

In the late 90’s there was a game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. The purpose of the game was to link Kevin Bacon to any anyone in Hollywood in six or less connections. This concept first came about in 1929 when a character in a book by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy suggested that everyone on the planet is connected in 5 individuals- and there is math to back it up. Since that suggestion in 1929, there have been several experiments conducted that show that a person is connected to everyone else within 6-7 connections.

A study in 1967 by Stanley Milgram showed that we are separated by 6 degrees. Since then, the internet has been created and expanded, and social media makes us more connected to each other. I would venture to guess that the number of degrees is now less than 6. In 2016, Facebook conducted an experiment that suggests that Facebook users are connected by 3.5 degrees of separation from each other.

Technology is one of the many reasons the world has become a smaller place. By being connected, we not only gather more accurate data, we can also connect with one another whenever we want, however we want. I can send out a message to my network on FB, LinkedIn or Instagram and let people know that I will be in their city to see who is free to grab a drink or even ask for suggestions to good sites, events or restaurants.

Various modes of travel have also played in role in making the world smaller, advances in that field are only allowing us to travel further and faster.  Think about the random couple I met in Chicago. I have also met a bartender in Vegas that was from my general area. I met someone on a plane that lived in the same small town as me, the astonishing part of that is that the plane neither originated at an airport near me or was headed in that direction. If I look at my LinkedIn network, I have approximately 1,500 1st connections, over 500,000 2nd connections and almost 4 million 3rd connections.  By looking at these numbers we can see how the power of social media makes us a smaller world.

“It’s a small world. No matter what the circumstances, be nice to everyone, as you never know who you’re going to see again.” Ella Eyre

Have a connected weekend.