This article was published on February 4, 2016

Thanks to Facebook, our world is even closer together than ever

Thanks to Facebook, our world is even closer together than ever

Have you ever played six degrees of Kevin Bacon? Well, as it turns out, you probably need a lot less than six degrees to get to him when you throw Facebook in the mix.

According to a report from Facebook’s research team, the average degrees of separation between regular folks on the platform is less than 3.5. This is down from the research done five years ago, which had the average degrees of separation at 3.74.

Each person in the world (at least among the 1.59 billion people active on Facebook) is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people. The average distance we observe is 4.57, corresponding to 3.57 intermediaries or “degrees of separation.” Within the US, people are connected to each other by an average of 3.46 degrees.

Of course, that number also fluctuates from person to person. I am an average of 3.24 degrees of separation from everyone on Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, is 3.17 degrees while COO Sheryl Sandberg shows off her famous networking skills with an average of 2.92.

Screenshot 2016-02-04 10.34.28

Does it mean anything in the long run? The answer is yes and no. Although it is unlikely that the distance between any two people on Facebook would materially impact the site in any visible way, the shrinkage speaks to a larger globalization of the Internet and the interconnectedness we get to participate in online.

So if the world is closer together than ever, can my friend of a friend of a friend introduce me to Channing Tatum? Asking for a me.

Three and a half degrees of separation [Facebook]