“I am bound to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people.” – John Guare
The question of how people are hooked up had long been a game among mathematicians: If you choose any two people in the world at random, how many acquaintances would be needed to create a chain between them?
Six degrees of separation is one of the theories that a person can connect to any other person through a sequence of chains which is not more than five intermediaries. The phrase “six degrees of separation” is often used as a synonym for the idea of the “small world” phenomenon.
It is a measure of social distance between people. You are one degree away from everyone you know, two degrees away from everyone they know, and so on.
In other words, we are just a handful of acquaintances away from the likes of Madonna, the Dalai Lama and the Queen.
The theory was proposed in 1929 by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called “chains”.
The six degrees of separation concept originates from Milgram’s “small world experiment” in 1967.
EXPLANATION OF THIS THEORY:
The person, who is the starter, knows the recipient name and his general details for sending the particular information. Now we will be sent the information they knew on a first-name basis that they thought was most likely, out of all their friends to know the target personally. This will keep on continuing until the particular information is delivered to its target Recipient
We will have an expectation that there might be more participants between the sender and the recipient. But on an average it will take only between five and seven intermediaries to get each package delivered
EXAMPLE OF THIS THEORY:
ME -> FRIEND’S DAD -> MINISTER -> CHIEF MINISTER -> PRIME MINISTER -> PRESIDENT
From the above example, if I want to deliver information to President, I can go through the above chains for reaching him. I know my friend dad. He knows Minister so that I can meet him with the reference of Friends dad. This series continues and finally I can deliver the message to the President.
The test on Facebook in fall of 2011 found that the 6 degrees of separation fell to 4.8 in their analysis. The famous 6 degrees of separation is now 5 within a standard deviation.