While the concept that we are all, on a whole, separated by a measly six degrees seems too claustrophobic to be true, sociologists and other manners of scientists have, time and again, proved it a reality. Stanley Milgram spearheaded the research into the dynamic of the social network in the ’60s through the small world experiment, which saw randomly selected individuals receive information packets containing instructions on acceptance of participation and a contact to identify. Participants were asked to forward a letter directly to the contact if they knew him or her on a ‘first name basis’, or to forward the letter to someone they personally knew whom they thought might know the end target. On average, it took 5.5 or 6 persons to get the letter from a random individual to a random target. Indeed, the theory has been circling round and round the minds of the biggest scientists and been cited in Nobel Prize addresses since the beginning of the 20th century.
The release of “Connected: The surprising power of our social networks” by Christakis and Fowler, once again brings the focus on our interconnectivity with a focus on the influence of a stranger on our habits, our behaviour and even body weight.
Guess we know what the topic was at the table? 🙂
I read an excerpt and i’m getting a copy soon as i can locate a store that’ll sell it to me in English!