There Are Probably Fewer Than Six Degrees Between You and Kevin Bacon
A new study shows that there are now fewer than six degrees separating each person in the world from everyone else- including Kevin Bacon. Who knew?
You’re all familiar with the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon theory/game/party trick, yes? The idea that anyone can be linked via people they know to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less? Well, guess what? It may not be entirely accurate anymore. You could, in fact, be connected to Kevin Bacon in significantly fewer than six degrees. Neat-o!
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is based off of the “small world” theory: that is, the theory that human society is what’s called a “small world network” characterized by short path lengths. The idea of six degrees of separation was an illustration of that theory. It stated that hypothetically, every single person on the planet is connected to one another by, on average, six steps or fewer based on the people they know. When Kevin Bacon came into the picture, the variation on the game just applied to people who work in Hollywood. Over time, however, it grew to encompass everyone in the United States (and, possibly, the world).
But guess what? A new study has just discovered that there may actually be FEWER than six degrees separating everyone from Kevin Bacon—as well as everyone else in the world. How? Simple: Facebook.
Researchers at the University of Milan found that the average number of acquaintances separating any two people on Facebook is 4.75 (I’m not really sure how you can have three-quarters of a person, but whatever). This means that you’re probably a lot closer to Kevin Bacon than you think.
Especially since Kevin Bacon actually has a Facebook page of his own these days. One degree of separation, here we come!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.