Today in Bacon…

From the Washington Post:

The “small world theory,” embodied in the old saw that there are just “six degrees of separation” between any two strangers on Earth, has been largely corroborated by a massive study of electronic communication.

With records of 30 billion electronic conversations among 180 million people from around the world, researchers have concluded that any two people on average are distanced by just 6.6 degrees of separation, meaning that they could be linked by a string of seven or fewer acquaintances.

The database covered all of the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006 […]

Gosh, that’s kinda neat. We’re all just… Hey, wait. 30 billion records from 180 million people? Retained for over 2 years? I wonder how many users of Messenger (and other IM services?) are aware of how much data is being logged.

2 thoughts on “Today in Bacon…”

  1. It doesn’t really mean that any human being is connected by 7 or fewer, because:
    * MSN messenger users are not a random set of people, they’re more likely to be connected to each others because of the network effect (i.e. people use MSN because their friends do)
    * Exchanging an IM doesn’t really mean you’re connected, it can be random chat (or spam).

    So… It’s fun to hear, as you say scary for MSN users (although GTalk also logs everything, because you can search it in GMail) but doesn’t give much info about the “6 degrees of separation”).

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