The six degrees of separation is the idea that every person is within six degrees of knowing every other person on earth.
In 1929, Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy published a volume of short stories titled Everything is Different. In one of the stories, the characters created a game to prove that any two people could be connected through at most five acquaintances.
That was (obviously) well before the Internet and the connected social web we all now know.
In 1990, author-editor Richard Gilliam came up with a online Movie Links game. When actor Kevin Bacon claimed in a February 1994 Premiere magazine interview that he had worked with everybody in Hollywood or someone who's worked with them, a group of three students at Albright College. The three appeared on he The Jon Stewart Show and The Howard Stern Show with Bacon. Afterward they wrote a book called the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and a board game based on the concept.
I wondered how all of this would hold up in today’s connected web.?
On a lark, I searched on LinkedIn and found I was a 3rd away from Kevin Bacon’s third listing (the one with the photo) and that 22 of my connections were two away. Some, like Brian Solis, didn’t surprise me given the the company he keeps. 🙂
Later I found out I was even closer than three — with on of my contacts being 1st degree away from him (not sure why I didn’t show 2nd in LinkedIn, but that is another issue). He has met him at an even in NYC a few months ago.
So I did what any blogger would do. I launched a poll to find out how many of my loose connections were connected to Kevin Bacon and how closely they were connected.
Turns out pretty closely, out of 71 responses, 71% were related with a 3rd degree.
Click on the graphic to take the poll and see the most recent results. While you are at LinkedIn, take the poll on LinkedIn and see where you fit in (you will have to search for Kevin Bacon to get your degree of distance).