Six degrees separated from Mugabe: I don’t think so

Mugabe Headed For Victory In Flawed Election

Sherrilynne pointed me at an interesting post today which talks about a report Microsoft issued where they claim that their Messenger statistics validate the theory that everyone is separated from everyone else on the planet by six friends. The post goes into some fallacies of the report namely:

  • The sample is skewed: People who use Messenger are a very small group who represent a very skewed population not representative of everyone in the world
  • IM connections are not representative of real-world connections. I certainly have a number of people I hardly know on MSN as well as some strangers I spoke to once. I certainly have someone I had a long chat with after posting about discount home theater seating. Doubt if I will ever speak to him again though.
Joyful Young Adults Staring Down at Camera

The post concludes that in reality the statistics point to the fact that most people in America are actually separated by 30 degrees and not really 6. Now, I believe that if you work through your friends and their friends friends you’re bound to build a network of thousands and thousands of people, however I pretty sure that the social graph you’ll map out will be a pretty localised and won’t really get very far. So, as the post title suggests, I’m pretty sure I’ll be pretty far of from Mugabe, and probably even Angelina Jolie. Now .. if you give me 30 degrees, I might start getting close.

I found it interesting. Read it and tell me what do you think?

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