You Are Kevin Bacon

Another guest blog by our CTO, Frank Podlaha

Remember the Kevin Bacon Game?  Choose any Hollywood actor and somehow connect them to Kevin Bacon through the movies they co-starred with other actors.  This is the shortened version of the Six Degrees of Separation theory that says you are connected by no more than six people to anyone on the planet.  Amazing concept, right?

As a math geek, I am fascinated by these theorems.  It’s part the reason why I got involved with Go Grab Lunch.  After all, social networking is the modern culmination of the Six Degrees of Separation.  But ever wonder a little deeper how it works?  I’ll spare the gory details, but this is the gist of it.

We all belong to social groups; family, friends, co-workers, club memberships, church, etc.  Within one or two degrees of separation, a friend of a friend, we have connections to a few thousand people on average.  Let’s call these our little social pods.  “Little” because a few thousand people is really nothing compared to the billions in the world.  It’s been debated by mathematicians how one can really reach anyone else on the planet through a succession of 6 or so social pods.  The theory breaks down because although you may know a few hundred people, chances are that those same few hundred people know the same people you do.  Think about it, your family and friends all know you, and the same family and friends also know each other.  So it just doesn’t work if you think your 100 friends know a 100 friends for a connection of 10,000 friends.  Makes sense, right?

So how can we connect to anyone worldwide?  Well, there are a small percentage of special people in each social pod the glues the world together.  These are the 2-3% of the population that are (to steal a phrase from the 1980s’) the “movers and shakers” of the world.  They are leaders, teachers, world travelers, soldiers, and all sorts of prolific networkers.  They connect these far flung social pods by leap frogging the local connections.  Think of it as the express train by-passing the usual local stops.

With his long movie career, Kevin Bacon is one of these express trains.  Anyone in Hollywood can hop off their local train, get on the express, and connect to him.  If you are reading this blog about social networking and expanding your connections through business lunches, I dare say you are one of the 2-3% of the movers and shakers.  You are Kevin Bacon!


About Jonathan Patrick connects like-minded business professionals over face to face, one on one appointments based on each member's preferences.

Posted on April 8, 2011, in Networking and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Found this interesting article that basically debunks this idea of “special people” and the Six Degrees of Separation.

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