August 12, 2003
Not smaller after all

A dude at Columbia named Duncan Watts has repeated Stanley Milgram's 1967 "Six Degrees" experiment with email and determined that nothing's changed.

Bonus points: who can link themselves to Duncan Watts in the fewest hops?

Posted by kio at August 12, 2003 05:53 PM

OK, so if we out of school, here's a tale to tell.

Year and a half ago, when that first started, I signed up for it. There were a few people chosen, and you had to connect to them. By signing up, you got a name, and you had to get the email to them few hops as possible.

First one was a croatian artist. Did it with one hop, to a croatian artist friend of mine. Thinking that was a fluke, I signed up again. So the second one was a writer here in New York, an acquaintance of mine I'd seen a few nights before.

I quit it right there, and went to lunch with my friend, some of you know her, some of you don't. I was sort of upset by how small the world was, and was complaining about it to her.

I explained the experiment and the implications, at least for me personally, and in the end, she said, that's kind of a weird experiment ... where is that being done? I said Duncan something, up at Columbia.

Then she explained that, oh, that's Duncan Watts. I said, you know him? She said, yeah, I sort of hooked up with him the other night.

I won't tell you who she is -- unless you have a shorter number of hops -- but I will tell you that she's not on his friendster list, so it wasn't that deep. Like friendsters are.

Posted by: Kevin Slavin on August 12, 2003 06:35 PM

You have attempted to access a user who is currently outside of your Personal Network.

But I think the "she" is well within my circle.

Posted by: dbrown on August 12, 2003 07:03 PM

Excuse me Mr. Slavin, but you neglected to say who TOLD you about the experiment in the first place, now didn't you?

Posted by: Kio on August 12, 2003 07:41 PM

Jeff Brecker?

Posted by: Kevin Slavin on August 12, 2003 09:21 PM

No, moron, it was me. I remember.

Posted by: Kio on August 12, 2003 10:26 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:


Remember info?