Sunday, March 25, 2012

Six Degrees of Separation



  1. My first cousin’s husband turned out to be my really good friend’s wife’s cousin.
  2. A lady I met at a friend’s place turned out to be my ex-manager’s wife.
  3. This same ex-manager turned out to be my current colleague’s volleyball team-mate.
  4. A good friend from Junior College turned out to be my Mom’s distant relation’s son.
  5. My roomate’s husband and a friend of both me and my roommate, turned out to be related.
  6. This friend’s wife turned out to be my friend’s relative.
  7. My ex-boss’ wife turned out to be my batchmate from our initial training days at work.
  8. My friend A’s wife turned out to be my friend B’s good friend.
  9. My friend from college and my work acquaintance met later, through an online matrimonial site!
  10. A competing team’s member in my husband’s cricket team turned out to be my old work project’s batchmate.

Don’t such realizations fascinate you? A reality show contestant turns out to be someone from your childhood playgroup? Your friend’s spouse turns out to be your spouse’s friend? Your colleague turns out to be your mother’s cousin’s son? How you run into completely unexpected people, at the most weirdest of times in the weirdest of places! Co-incidences? Think about it, I bet you could come up with 5-6 such “co-incidences” yourself. If you don’t, walk through your Facebook friend list and come tell me if you find more than 10% of them without mutual friends. I’m sure if I try modelling an “acquaintance tree” like a family tree, I’ll come up with many more such inter-relations.

Per Wiki, Six Degrees of Separation refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, "a friend of a friend" statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. Recent studies conducted on Twitter and Facebook put this figure at 5 and 4 respectively. When my friend from #5 in the list above told me about this "6 step" concept (and this was a while ago!), it intrigued me enough to read up more about it (better late than never!). Its a rapidly shrinking world with myriad tools like social networking sites, blogger networks, virtual classrooms and online activities bringing people around the world closer to each other than ever before. Facebook even has a app dedicated to this concept called ‘Six Degrees’ which calculates the links of separation between 2 people. One can input any user into the search window, which you can use (after authorizing it to comb through your friend list) to calculate the number of connections between you and any other user on Facebook.

The wiki image of Six Degrees of separation
So be it that famous celebrity singer or the president of the country, it’ll be interesting to determine your connections! And you thought plots like these were limited to reel life! So the next time, there’s a Hindi drama playing on TV and shows you connections like the one below, don’t be surprised! Some of those are hopelessly unreal, but it could be more common than you think!
A visual representation; an example of Six Degrees of Separation


31 comments:

  1. So right.. Not always.. but have experienced this a lot thanx to facebook. I would know x and y who don't know each other but each know of a common person !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True! and every time someone adds me on Facebook and some unexpected person is a mutual friend, its fun figuring out how they know each other!

      Delete
  2. INTERCONNECTED !
    sometimes it reminds us "All of us, were we once kids of a two people? a man and women from whom the world came from"
    quite word but have experienced.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, in some or the other, every other person has to be connected after all!

      Delete
  3. My god....such a logical, near mathematical formula for an emotional matter! Good post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My head was spinning after I read the first ten points. Great analysis. Now I am going to try that Six Degrees app on Facebook. :D

    ReplyDelete
  5. Six degrees of separation is a nice concept. It was developed when a research team sent a bunch of envelopes to some people in the middle of USA (maybe Nebraska) and asked them to mail them to a person in Boston through whomever they know. Using the different postmarks on the package, the research team concluded that on average, any random person in Nebraska is connected to a specific stockbroker in 6 steps or degrees. What's even more interesting about this is that the stockbroker got most of his packages from two people. This means that different people were somehow connected to those two people, who ultimately were connected to the stockbroker. This shows that while 6-degrees is the average separation, some people are just more connected to people than others are. This whole story is described well in Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. I have to remember to pick up a copy!

      Delete
    2. Yes ur story got the point, but, this is what happened...all started with Karinthy (Hungarian writer of novels) when he wrote a novel "Lancszeme" (Chains)...where Karinthy and his main character in novel (beggar) conect with nobelman...nobelman needed to meet king Gustava, man who gives nobel prizes, who plays tens and occasional play with tenis champion who knows Karinthy main character he described, in his novel, that 5 caric separate any man in world. That was 1929.....1967 harvard professor Stanley Milgram started to research Six degrees of separation...His main goal was to find "space " between any two men in USA. He chose two random persons, woman from Massachusetts, and brocker from Boston. Start pont was Whicita in Kansas and Omaha in Nebreska. Milgram experiment consisted with sending letter random people from Wichita and Omaha. In latter was content, photografy, name, adress and other information. And this:
      How to participate in this research
      1)write ur name in table on bottom of page (so other recipient knows who send letter)
      2)Take 1 postcard. Fill it and send it to Harvard (With it we watch moving of latter)
      3)if u know person who wee looking for send it directly this latter. (Only if u know that person very well)
      4)if u dont know that person very well send letter to someone who may know it. (like friend, family)

      On end there was 42 latters (160 was send). Avrage intercessor of latters was 5,5. Round it to 6 and u get urs "Six Degrees of separation"....sry for my bad english :)

      Delete
    3. Yes, there are quite a few versions of how the whole '6 Degrees of Separation' came into being! I am sure different people have researched it at different times! With communication and technology playing that huge a role today, I won't be surprised if the 6 keeps falling further!

      Delete
  6. zara apan indian audience ke liye bhi likh na...itna complicate likhti hai...i no to be understand whats wrote by you. peoples above has appreciate what you write, i like too. but is it a coincidence that mine is the 6th comment? in the 6 degree separate? I like the two points something of point 4 and the point 8. A's wife turning into devil or something...
    Sorry for the interruption and disruption.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just scrolled up to #4 and #8 :) Its obvious why you like #4 :) I don't get why you would like #8!

      Delete
  7. Actually, I had tried this a long time back when Orkut was popular in India. When visiting the profile of someone not in your friend list , it used to show the relationship link by connecting common acquaintances. I read about the 6 degrees of separation concept somewhere and decided to check it out. In fact, I guess I had started a game in some community forum on this. And in all the attempts I made to check on profiles, I always found the number of links to be less than 6.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel with the whole social media playing the role it does, people are getting closer than they used to be - at least the number of people connected to each other. How shallow or deep their connection is - that's a whole different story. But, yes, even with the population booming across the globe, I guess we're going to see the "Six" degrees reduce over a period of time!

      Delete
  8. Wow!! This is interesting stuff, and I loved the way you spiced it up with the quirky scenarios :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL :) Thanks - yeah there's so much behind this concept. Read above comment from LiberalCynic on its history. I loved documenting the whole Ekta Kapoor story too! I am sure my husband was thinking: She was less crazy when she used to work!

      Delete
  9. What is thees Deepa...you copied my name to create the next blog...6th Sance..cheating hai...
    I like point 8 because its always good to have a friends wife to be a friend of B.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am going to counter-sue you! You used my post to name yourself :P

      Delete
  10. This is amazing,it sounds very implausible but then you & others have verified it so it must be true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Indu, you should try it! Its fun :)

      Delete
  11. very interesting post! facebook is a true testimony of this theory. It's amazing to see how a friend is related to another friend and you wonder how small the world really is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Purva! I am sorry I didn't realize just when you posted this comment, came across it just today! Sometimes we run into people in the most unexpected of places affirming the fact! Thanks for visiting this blog, do keep coming back!

      Delete
  12. There was a girl I knew in college and one day we realized that her parents anniversary is on my birthday and my parents anniversary is on her birthday and the first four letters of her name was also Jaya. :) Life does have strange coincidences :D Though all those ten points are slightly making my head go slightly round and round its a very interesting post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Thanks Jaish! The best part about those co-incidences is how it helps you remember a lot. I always remember a friend's birthday because its the same as my Dad's! Yes, I so agree, life does have strange co-incidences!

      Delete
  13. I was just fascinated by the whole 6 degrees of separation :)
    Here is how I am separated from Meryl Streep!

    My cousin (tayaji's son) is Rahul.
    He is married to Mehreen.
    Mehreen's aunt (mom's younger sister) is Madhur Jaffrey.
    Madhur Jaffrey played a pschiatrist who was treating Meryl Streep in a film!

    That's my connection...and it's not even 6 degrees! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Now I have to got to find myself some connections with some celebrities!

      Delete
  14. @ Deepa

    This is fascinating but what are the chances when you are talking to somebody who says I know where that is and I mean from a total stanger. When I first read this in the newspapers few years back I didn't believe it. Come on, I think it's too thin to call it fact. So from this we can conclude that there are or were at some point 4 people between you and me knowing each other. That is scary, do you not think so. Does the stalking count in this scenario Deepa? Just curios. Because you can cut the middle 4's when you find connection with all the celebrities :) HARRY --Adios--

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe there are 4-6 connections :) Maybe we would find someone we know in common! Read liberalcynic's comment above for more information on how the whole '6 degrees of separation' concept got formed! :) It is scary but with communication being the way it is today, maybe people are REALLY more closer than they think!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...