vendredi 25 novembre 2011

The world is smaller than you think: Facebook with the average number of knowledge between two persons shrinks from 6 to 4.74.

 The world is smaller than you think: Facebook with the average number of acquaintance between two persons shrinks from 6 to 4.74.

The number of "six degrees" originates from a publication from 1967, the American psychologist Stanley Milgram who asked 296 volunteers to send a message by postcard through friends and friends of friends, etc.. Until a specific person in Boston suburb.

The new study focuses on a slightly larger group: 721 million Facebook users, or about 1/10th of the world. It was conducted by scientists from Facebook with the University of Milan and lasted one month.
The result is an average number of links a person (arbitrarily selected) to another of 4.74. It is 4.34 for the United States.
"Even considering the more distant Facebook user in the Siberian tundra, or a Peruvian rain forest, a friend of your friend probably knows a friend of their friends. "
The study is by far the largest of its kind but according to independent scientists, it is not definitive, that it raised questions about definitions like "friend" and "acquaintance"
The definition of "friend" is changing.
Jon M. Kleinberg, a professor at Cornell University in New York said that friendships do not have the same meaning than others. He offers the example of a man wanted for a crime. A random Facebook user discovered she was in class with someone who has rented an apartment to someone who is suspected of the crime. They are all connected on Facebook as "friends."
"We are close, in a sense, people who are not necessarily like us, have no sympathy for them or anything in common with us," said Mr. Kleinberg, "is the weak ties that made a small world "

The concept of "six degrees" dated to a 1929 short story, "Chains" in which a Hungarian author, Frigyes Karinthy, suggested  that no one was more distant than a string 6 friends away from any other person.

From an article by J. Markoff and S. Sengupta, International Herald Tribune dated 23/11/2011.

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