Facebook Brings Us Closer Together

By The Atlantic Wire

Using algorithms, Facebook debunked the "six-degrees of separation" theory, determining that we are now a mere 4.74 degrees away from another human anywhere on the planet. The findings were in research Facebook released that suggests the social network is bringing people closer together. But is that really what the social network has done for us? Because while the social-network connections have increased the numbers of names and faces in our arsenal, those connections are superficial and at times, not even people we know at all.

In 1967 Stanley Milgram published the original six-degrees experiment. Looking at a mere 296 subjects, who he asked to sent a message in the mail, through friends and friends of friends to a specific person in Boston, Milgram determined six connections separated people. In 2008, Facebook visited this principle, finding a slightly lower degree of separation, at 5.28. Now, as the social network has grown from 100 million in 2008, to over 700 million on 2011, it's down to 4.74.

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http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/11/facebook-brings-us-closer-together/248962/