The theory of “Six Degrees of Separation” says that six steps of introduction from people is all that stands between you, and ANYONE else on the planet. So a “friend of a friend” can connect any two people in maximum of six steps.
This theory is mind boggling to say the least. The other day I threw a baby shower for my girlfriend. We grew up in the same area of upstate New York and it always amazes me how we both ended up in Utah all these years later. Not to mention that we are still really close- what are the odds? Anyway, at the shower, I was chatting with one of the other women, and I learned she had also grown up near where I used to live in New York. She and my friend never knew each other while they lived out there- their husbands met in law school in Utah. When we started name dropping old friends, we realized we knew many of the same people. And then the kicker… her older brother was good friends with a guy I knew growing up- and I have an old picture of that guy WITH HER BROTHER in it. Whhhaaat? I couldn’t believe it.
Apparently four students watching Footloose couldn’t believe it either. They came up with a game called “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” where essentially you find the shortest link between Kevin Bacon and any other actor, where two actors are connected if they’ve been in a show or commercial together. In September of 2012, Google made it possible to search any actor’s “Bacon Number.”
For Example: Leonardo DiCaprio’s Bacon Number is 2: Leonardo DiCaprio to Meryl Streep (Marvin’s Room)- Meryl Streep to Kevin Bacon (The River Wild).
You can look up any actor’s Bacon Number on The Oracle of Bacon.
And for fun, here’s a list of 17 People with Surprising Bacon Numbers.
In 2007 Kevin Bacon launched SixDegrees.org a website that built on the idea of the game by creating a charitable social network to inspire people to donate to charities online. Bacon will match the charitable donations of non-celebrity fund raisers with grants up to 10,000 each. The website allows you to give a “Good Card” as a gift, and the person can choose where the money is donated from over a million charities. You can also create a fundraising page or make your own donations. I applaud Kevin Bacon for pointing the focus to something so far reaching and charitable.
I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve said, “What a small world!” It’s getting even smaller with technology and social media. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are utilizing this principle to generate new business. According Sysomos, a company that monitors social media, the average distance between people on Twitter is 4.67 steps (source), instead of 6 steps. And on average, 50% of people on Twitter are less than 4 steps away from each other. That’s crazy! If you’d like to be within one step of me, you can follow me on Twitter!
I think it’s so interesting how intertwined everything is through social media! What are your favorite ways to connect with people? Have you had any crazy experiences like mine that made the world seem small? What’s your favorite actor’s Bacon Number? Or if you have a favorite charity on the SixDegrees.org site to recommend, I’d love to hear about it!
Have a great weekend everyone!