Monday, July 28, 2008

Small world.

When I was a kid I used to be kind of irritated with people who would ask if I knew someone. Like if they found out where I lived, "Oh, you're from Holladay? Do you know Dick Dickson, my cousin in Holladay?" I thought like it was annoying to ask those questions because of course I wouldn't know them. But now I realize sometimes I do.

I guess Stanley Milgram was the first to try to document the smallness of the world with his experiment that I first heard about in my intro to sociology class. In Milgram's experiment, it was found that, on average, for the people who he was able to track, there was an average of six people between the original person involved and the target person.

Now there is a new way to quantify the "small world" phenomenon: Mutual Friends.

Those who are already on Facebook are likely aware that there is a feature on Facebook called Mutual Friends. When you look at someone's Facebook profile, if you have Facebook friends in common with that person, those people will be displayed in Mutual Friends. Sometimes I am quite surprised by the number of Mutual Friends I have with someone on Facebook. It sometimes leads to those moments where you say something like, "*gasp* HE knows HER?"

For example:
  • My friend's mission companion is friends with my other friend's former visiting teaching companion.
  • A girl that served in the same mission with me is friends with the cousin of a girl who grew up in my neighborhood (who also happens to have worked at the English school where one of my fellow students used to work). Oh and by the way this same cousin knows my piano teacher and a professor on my Ph.D. committee.
  • A girl from my German class knows a whole bunch of people from my former singles' ward.
  • The guy my friend used to date is friends with my former stake president's daughter.
  • My mom's secretary is friends with a girl that used to sing in the same choir with me.
  • A guy I kind-of-sort-of went out with one time is friends with a guy I knew in high school.

It truly is a small world after all.

3 comments:

Laverna said...

I love those moments. Wait a second, you know him/her?!? :D

When I was baptized, we had a big family gathering and I introduced my grandparents to each other. I was trying to be polite, and I couldn't remember seeing them at any parties together. They smiled and said that they had met before . . . of course I felt a little sheepish.

i i eee said...

"It truly is a small world after all."

Especially in Mormon circles.

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