'4.74 Degrees Of Kevin Bacon' Just Doesn't Sound As Good As 6 | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

'4.74 Degrees Of Kevin Bacon' Just Doesn't Sound As Good As 6

Who would want to play "4.74 Degrees of Kevin Bacon?"

Well, according to Facebook and researchers from the University of Millan, the average separation — or "number of hops" — between Facebook users is now 4.74. In other words, that's the average number of steps it would take to connect one Facebook user with another who uses that social media site. Your friend is a friend to someone else who's friends with someone else ... until somehow you're "connected" to someone halfway around the world.

Six, of course, has been the standard for degrees of separation between two people since a 1967 experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram. As The New York Times says, he had 296 volunteers "send a message by postcard, through friends and then friends of friends, to a specific person in a Boston suburb." It took six steps, on average, to get where it was going.

In the early '90s, a quote from Bacon that he had acted with just about everybody in Hollywood inspired the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" trivia game (and, to his credit, the SixDegrees.org charitable website that the actor founded).

But 4.74? How do we have fun with that? Suggestions are welcome.

(H/T to NPR's Maria Godoy.)

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

MacArthur Fellow Terrance Hayes: Poems Are Music, Language Our Instrument

Hayes, a professor of writing at the University of Pittsburgh, was recognized for "reflecting on race, gender, and family in works that seamlessly encompass both the historical and the personal."
NPR

Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And The Risk Of Diabetes

There's a new wrinkle to the old debate over diet soda: Artificial sweeteners may alter our microbiomes. And for some, this may raise blood sugar levels and set the stage for diabetes.
NPR

House Passes Bill That Authorizes Arming Syrian Rebels

Even though it was backed by both party leaders, the vote split politicians within their own ranks. The final tally on the narrow military measure was 273 to 156.
NPR

3.7 Million Comments Later, Here's Where Net Neutrality Stands

A proposal about how to maintain unfettered access to Internet content drew a bigger public response than any single issue in the Federal Communication Commission's history. What's next?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.