Tags: community, globalization, methodology/statistics, duncan j. watts, networks, six degrees of separation, stanley milgram, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: "It's a small world" is something we say all the time, but is it really? In 1967 Stanley Milgram set out to test the small world hypothesis by recruiting people to get a letter to a distant stock broker they had never met. The catch was they could only send the letter to people they already knew, who would in turn send it along to people they knew, with the ultimate aim of getting it to the stock broker. Of the 296 letters sent, 64 made it to their destination. Milgram found there were approximately six people in each of the successive letter chains, giving credence to the notion that any single person on the planet is connected to any other person by only 6 degrees. More recently, Duncan J. Watts revisited the Milgram experiment in his book Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. By tracking emails in massively large networks, Watts found that one individual can be connected to any other individual in just a few steps. In this video, sociologist Nathan Palmer of Sociology Source reflects on how these findings relate to his own life. He discusses how he lost his GoPro camera in a river, then against all odds got it back. He concludes that it's not really a small world. In fact, it's a very big world with over seven billion people in it, but the research suggests our large world feels small to us because it is so highly connected.
Submitted By: Nathan Palmer
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