Comments: Six Million Degrees of Bull$&*t (choose one)

Comments

A very valid critism, but think of it this way:

This study only looks at the kinds of connection that people can deliberately make (i.e. they are trying to reach a specific someone by travelling only one route and starting by choosing one person they know to be the next link).

The lack of success shows that we - individuals - aren't very good at navigating social networks.

But some things move through social networks, taking advantage of all the connections that exist, whether the individuals involved know where they lead to or not.

Gossip, information, disease, memes, etc. all navigate social networks in a way that will tend to make them seem vastly more connected than the deliberate attempts of individuals. For these kinds of contaigon social networks can still be small worlds.

What d'ya reckon?

Yes indeed, the study does show how poor we are at navigating social networks, and from the looks of it its pretty limited in its ability to really measure our connections. If it could some how ping every one of our connections, have them ping all theirs, etc, etc it would without a doubt have a far greater success rate.

And yes there are certainly "small worlds" of hundreds of thousands of intricately connected people, trough which memes and what not will circulate. However its my hypothesis that rather then one "small world" connecting everyone on earth, their are many small worlds, with very loose and tenuous connections between those worlds. Some of these are obvious. Religions, cities, alumnus of various schools. Others are far less obvious and likely predicated on chaotic chance. Their might be someone down the street whose network never crosses yours. And one chance encounter at the checkout counter could tie those two networks intimately together...

Bottom line, this is interesting and unchartered stuff, I look forward to learning more.

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