Thursday, 25 October 2007
5.5 DEGREES OF SEPARATION TO BE EXACT
John Guare made the idea of the six degress famous, but it was Stanley Miligram, the brilliant but controversial psychologist who conducted the small world experiment that brought the notion of interconnectedness to light. In his experiment he sent letters to randomly selected people in Wichita and Omaha and asked them to send them on to people they knew who might know the target in Cambridge. On average it took 5.5 people before the letter got to its target.
However, if we are all only 5.5 links away from each other, and so interconnected, why do lonely hearts still struggle to find a partner? Why do we as a society still need speed dating, matchmaking websites, estate agents, and the classified sections of newspapers? Why do sales people need to cold call? Why do brands still need to do broadcast advertising? Interconnectedness has its complications.