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Six degrees of separation theory: What is it, how does it work and how real is it?

Six degrees of separation theory: What is it

The theory of the six degrees of separation is based on the fact that through a chain of acquaintances, anyone can meet another by simply interacting with 5 links or degrees.

The grade level of the number of contacts with which the individual must start a conversation is called to meet a new important contact.

At the time this hypothesis was created, it was believed or assumed that only a total of 6 people were needed for it to be fulfilled. Although, currently thanks to social networks, the necessary number has changed and it is now believed that there are only 4 jumps of separation so that it becomes a reality. Are you interested in the subject? Read on to learn more.

What is the Theory of the six degrees of separation and how does it work


This theory has as a fundamental idea that the number of known people grows exponentially through the number of friends in a chain. In such a way that only a small number of contacts are necessary for this set of relatives , can become the entire human population.

That is, one person knows another and that other one another, and so on. In such a way that a chain is created where everyone directly or indirectly knows or knows each other.

A curious fact is that social networks although we do not know, work under this same foundation of the conjecture of the six leaps of separation. Since to meet a new person, just have to A friend in common, similar tastes, live in the same place or close to it. Even having people living in the nearby area, even if they are not a direct contact with the new acquaintance.

Origin of the theory of the six degrees When and who raised this theory?

This assumption originated between 1929 and 1930 when the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy formulated the theory of the six degrees.

Karinthy Frigyes

Which consists according to Karinthy’s idea, that any person on Earth can be connected to any other person on the same planet by a thread or connection of acquaintances. Which have no more of five intermediaries or connections with each other. This would allow to meet almost anyone or communicate a message to a person through this network of contacts.

How social networks have changed the Theory of 6 degrees of separation?

The change or the way social networks have changed has been very significant, and it is considered that over time it will be even more affected.

It should be noted that when it was created it took a long time for the Internet and the networks themselves to emerge; that would certainly make this somewhat smaller.

Something we have seen over the years, as these platforms have multiplied their connections, so that today could be less jumping breaks between two people.

For example, on the Facebook platform for the year 2008 this hypothesis handled a figure of 5.28 degrees of separation. Three years later, for 2011, the necessary amount or degrees of separation were 4.7.

grados de separacion en Facebook

For the year 2013 researchers from National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, estimated that the amount had again been reduced to 3.8 the average of the jumps of separation between people.

Not very different from platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, that show people that you may know based on the degrees of relationship or interests that unite them.

This leads us to think that we are closer than we think and that the world is smaller than we imagine, because a friend of your friend possibly knows a friend of other friends.

Which states that social networks have decreased the number of people needed to meet another of some interest. Making it impossible to contact that individual due to remoteness or other factors.

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