What started as six is now down to four. Thanks to Facebook and the sheer size of its user base (721 Million people, or roughly 10% of the earth’s population), the University of Milan was able to use state-of-the-art algorithms developed at their laboratory to concluded that the average separation between two people is 4.74.
In 1929, Frigyes Karinthy was the first to conclude that the number was 6 and that was put to the test in the 1960′s when Stanley Milgram gathered a subject pool of 296 volunteers. Milgram concluded that the average number of separations was 5.2 further strengthening the “Six Degrees of Separation” we so often hear about.
With the population skyrocketing and technology advancing, it was time for a more complete test. The University of Milan was able to use the scale and international reach of Facebook to give us an answer that is based on a global scale that was never previously available. According to their research, “99.6% of all pairs of users are connected by paths with 5 degrees (6 hops), 92% are connected by only four degrees (5 hops).”
It looks like the 7+ Billion people in the world are closer to each other than we previously thought.