Is the Degrees of Separation Decreasing?

There are just six degrees of separation between any two randomly selected individuals. However, some studies reveal that social media has shrunk the degree of separation and in reality, networks are more tightly connected than we think…

Turning back the pages of history, we evolved from one human family in a way that’s not necessarily obvious in our present lives. However, in today’s global world we’re all connected, and a problem elsewhere can soon be your problem as well. E.g. Even though Covid-19 was something happening in China, it spread so fast that it became impossible for the rest of the world to ignore how fast people connect and interact with one another.

Though the phrase “six degrees of separation” suggests that everyone in the world is precisely only six steps away from each other (based on a statistical average), the advent of the internet and social media has further shrunk the distance by making it easier to trace common connections between individuals.

The rise of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others have facilitated greater interaction and collaboration across geographical boundaries. With instant messaging and video conferencing tools, it’s more common to have connections with individuals from diverse backgrounds or distant locations.

Additionally, the widespread availability and affordability of air travel have made travelling around the globe easy, increasing the opportunities for face-to-face meetings. This proliferation of international communication and travel has made our world appear smaller and our feeling of interconnectedness higher.

As technological innovations further improve global connectivity and shrink our world, it’s difficult to quantify the exact degree degrees of separation. The concept of “six degrees” remains more of a theoretical framework for understanding social connections, whereas the precise measurement of separation has indeed dwindled.