Back in 1979, I made a decision to not pursue research on networks because the available advisor was grumpy and unavailable. But I’ve always thought of it as a fascinating field. Luckily, we have people at LIRNEasia who are conversant, and who do the research as well. This post from Facebook should be of interest. If you are a Facebook user, it will do the calculation for you. I was surprised by the number. I seem to be more connected than I thought.
How connected is the world? Playwrights , poets , and scientists  have proposed that everyone on the planet is connected to everyone else by six other people. In honor of Friends Day, we’ve crunched the Facebook friend graph and determined that the number is 3.57. Each person in the world (at least among the 1.59 billion people active on Facebook) is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people. The average distance we observe is 4.57, corresponding to 3.57 intermediaries or “degrees of separation.” Within the US, people are connected to each other by an average of 3.46 degrees.
Our collective “degrees of separation” have shrunk over the past five years. In 2011, researchers at Cornell, the Università degli Studi di Milano, and Facebook computed the average across the 721 million people using the site then, and found that it was 3.74 [4,5]. Now, with twice as many people using the site, we’ve grown more interconnected, thus shortening the distance between any two people in the world.
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