Degrees of Separation

Surely you’ve heard of the Six Degrees of Separation theory that essentially says any person in the world is a maximum of six connections to any other person in the world. There was even a game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a game where you had to name any actor or actress and find 6 steps or less to Kevin.

With Facebook and other social media haunts, this Six Degrees of Separation theory has never seemed so true. In fact I’m not sure you’d even need six steps to connect everyone in the world! Recently, on two separate occasions, I’ve noticed a profile on Facebook, whether they’ve commented on a friend’s status, or posted a picture of a friend, and when I click on their profile, it tells me we have two mutual friends. But the mutual friends we have don’t know each other – I know them from separate parts of my life.

For example, a friend, we’ll call her Kim, has a friend who we’ll call Jeremy. I clicked on Jeremy’s profile, and saw that we had two mutual friends – Kim and Melinda. I know Kim and Melinda, but Kim and Melinda don’t know each other. But they both know Jeremy. Here’s a simple graph to explain.

6deg

Now in this instance, Malinda lives in Atlanta, and Kim was raised in the Atlanta area, and I know both lovely women from my time in Atlanta. It’s not completely out of the realm that we would all find ourselves in one of these Six Degrees trees. However, this happened another time with a guy we’ll call Mark. He’s a friend of my husband’s. Someone commented on a status of his, and I clicked on her profile. Mark lives in LA, as does this woman. This woman, we’ll call her Judy, and I have two mutual friends. Our other mutual friend is Lauren. Once again, Lauren and Mark don’t know each other, and have never even lived in the same city. Lauren lives in Florida. So I know Lauren and Mark, Lauren and Mark know Judy, but Lauren and Mark don’t know each other.

This kind of stuff freaks me out. Not like, “oh my god I’m going to have a panic attack” freaks me out. But makes me think about this world of ours, that is so massive, yet so, SO small.

So I’m curious – have you ever noticed this on Facebook or outside of the internet world?

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8 thoughts on “Degrees of Separation

  1. I have had a very similar situation but probably more random. I went to College at UQ. One of the girls (lets call her Jessica) I lived there with is friends with another woman we will call Sarah (not sure how they are friends). Sarah is also friends with another friend of mine, lets call her Maria, as I understand they were work colleagues many years ago. The only reason I know Maria is because she lived in the apartment underneath us in Sydney a few years ago. I do not know Sarah and Jessica and Maria do not know each other. What are the chances of meeting someone at uni who becomes friends with someone, who worked with someone that you end up living in the same apartment complex and become friends with them! Random world!

  2. Very similar happened to me with a photo I posted on Facebook at a wedding. There were a few people in the pic and someo e I didn’t know commented as I’d tagged people asking how on earth a knew b as she knew them both but separately and didn’t know they knew each other and she didn’t know me. Follow that? All v weird and interesting.

  3. I haven’t had this happen to me but I have on occasions found people who know people we know through some strange connection – and I always laugh at it because for some reason it really does amuse me when I hear of these things.
    Have the best day !
    Me

  4. I had something similar but different happen. I recently found out that one of my daughter’s ex-fiance is the nephew of someone I used to work with and I only found out because I saw her at my daughter’s engagement party.

  5. I’ve had it happen too many times and across different Australian states & territories too..
    I found our accountant was a long time ‘friend of a girl I’d been friends with in my teens – and now in our 40’s reconnected Iwith girl and found accountant on her friend list (and she saw me)
    …Pity she added me as a friend lol no secrets.
    Your pic makes sense too.

  6. when we were planning our USA trip i went on trip advisor a lot to look up hotels and sites etc and was freaked out to see side bars of people who had been there (showing FB pic) and some were direct friends of mine but others were freaking me out when they showed my friend but also showed “friends with X” and i knew that person too and did not know these people were connected. turns out parts of my life have connections beyond me (did that all make sense LOL) – deb xx

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