Six degrees of seperation from everyone

We use all of them. What does that mean?

          Have you ever played six degrees of Kevin Bacon? In the game, you start with a celebrity then try to connect Kevin Bacon to that celeb through a series of connecting actors and the movies that they were in. Cher was in Witches of Eastwick with Jack Nicolson who was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon. See, two degrees of separation from Cher to Kevin. What’s this have to do with relationships? Thanks to social networks like Facebook, you have six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon… and 400 million other people.

          Paul says: When Lee had her issue on Facebook with the crazy family member, it started us thinking about how social networks are changing the face of relationship. People who, in the past, would have been relegated to a distant memory are now friends on Facebook. Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have completely changed the nature of relationships as we experienced them in the past. So I started doing some research on Facebook and the connection that we make and can make through it.

          Let’s start with some perspective. The large hadron collider, one of the greatest technological achievements of the last ten years, has about 15 million GB of data running through it a year. This is a huge amount of info. By my calculations, Facebook has about the same amount. Admittedly, the LDC had to grab all of its data in a matter of seconds but it doesn’t take away from the sheer volume of information that 400 million users create. One any given day, half of Facebook’s users log on, play games, like stuff, and communicate with friends.

          Social Network Analysis has been around for several decades, generally analyzing groups of people in a more traditional setting like friends talking about a tv commercial that they enjoy. Then came places like Facebook and Twitter. The math associated with the connections that we can make rivals that of quantum mechanics. Just because it will make the nipples hard on my science geek brethren, here is one of many mathematical equations that govern the connections we can make with internet social networks:

 Isn't it beautiful?

The variables in this equation are the number of times a person logs in and the number of friends that they have. Now that I have given myself a huge algebraic erection, let’s get to the point of all this sexy math.

          We are connected to everyone in the world in a way that we have never been before. We are friends with grade school acquaintances. And, more amazingly, we are friends of their friend’s friend. Suddenly the whole idea of relationship has been turned over and inside-out. Yet all of the same rules apply, only on mega scale. We establish boundaries by liking, ignoring, direct messaging and commenting. These are things that we would do face to face in the old days and it would take us months or years to build the courage to say. Now we do it with a click. We create intimacy. We communicate. We are faithful or disloyal. We do all of the things that are routinely written about on CoupleDumb but with the possibility of affecting multiple millions of people.

          I find it all mindboggling. In high school, I had like three friends. Now I have more than three hundred. Yes, I’m a stud.

          Lee says: I think all this Socialist Media needs to stop. We are America G-Damn it! Pretty soon everyone will be wearing grey and reading Marx….wait a second…just got poked …what?….social media?…..oh…..Nevermind!

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