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

Sonia Rykiel, Designer Known As The 'Queen Of Knitwear,' Dies

The famously redheaded Rykiel embodied the intellectual chic and feminism of Paris in the late 1960s. With vibrant stripes or simple black, her clothes hugged a woman's body.
NPR

The Aztecs Once Revered It. Will You Fall For Amaranth, Too?

Hardier than corn, this ancient grain has a subtle, nutty flavor and is full of nutrients. But for most Americans, amaranth is still obscure. Researchers in Tennessee hope to change that.
NPR

In Stunning Reversal, Trump Suggests He'd 'Work With' Immigrants In U.S. Illegally

Donald Trump courted hard-liners on immigration in the primary campaign. But he signaled Wednesday night he'd be in favor of a path to legalization for some immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
WAMU 88.5

A Cyber-Psychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online

Dr. Mary Aiken, a pioneering cyber-psychologist, work inspired the CBS television series "CSI: Cyber". She explains how going online changes our behavior in small and dramatic ways, and what that means for how we think about our relationship with technology.

Leave a Comment

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