The Social Pulse of Human Connectivity On A Planetary Scale
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April 21, 2009

The Social Pulse of Human Connectivity On A Planetary Scale

734pxsix_degrees_of_separation_2 Microsoft has studied a total of 30 billion instant messages sent by over 250 million people in June of 2006, and determined that we are in fact, all linked by only 6.6 degrees of separation.

 

"We've been able to put our finger on the social pulse of human connectivity - on a planetary scale - and we've confirmed that it's indeed a small world." Microsoft researcher Eric Horvitz told AFP on Monday. "Over the next few decades, new kinds of computing applications, from smart networks to automated translation systems, will help make the world even smaller, with closer social connections and deeper understanding among people."

Due to the popularity of Microsoft Messenger, Horvitz and colleague Jure Leskovec believe that the amount of chats that they studied amount to approximately half of the instant message sent worldwide during that period. The pair stress, of course, that they were not privy to the contents of the messages.

"To me, it was pretty shocking. What we're seeing suggests there may be a social connectivity constant for humanity," said Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft researcher who conducted the study with colleague Jure Leskovec. "People have had this suspicion that we are really close. But we are showing on a very large scale that this idea goes beyond folklore."

The origin of the six degrees of separation theory spawns from a study by Stanley Milgram and Jeffrey Travers in 1969. They tasked 300 people in the US state of Nebraska to send a letter to someone in Boston, through acquaintances. Though most of the letters did not reach their intended recipient, those letters that did arrive were found to arrive with an average of 6.2 degrees of separation from the sender.

Though the study was not considered scientific, it went on to inspire a multitude of children, including a play and film, and a charitable website, launched by Kevin Bacon in 2007, sixdegrees.org. Through the website, “you can support your favorite charities by donating or creating fundraising badges — as well as check out the favorite causes of other people, including celebrities.”

But though this original study was less than scientific, the study by Horvitz and Leskovec definitely has credibility. "We used a population sample that is more than two million times larger than the group studied earlier and confirmed the classic finding," Horvitz and Leskovec concluded.

Posted by Josh Hill.

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Source link: http://www.physorg.com/news137127816.html

Comments

Maybe in chat. But I don't think it's true in real life.
For example many old men or tribes or people that live in small cities are not connected at all with "external" world...

Here we may have a measurement of the market penetration of ms messenger. Since no one is obligated to use the product except as commanded by their employer, then they would get it to talk with someone who was already on it. If it doesn't annoy them too much and their friend/family member /workmate keeps using it, they might persuade someone else to get it. And this is how it spreads. Same idea as facebook, yahoo profiles, and myspace, yes?

That traffic was two years ago. Does Messenger still have 250 million active users today?

MS Messenger users are not "the world". Such arrogance.

This is discussed in a book I read and the example used was giving an item to a person and seeing how many people it went through to get to some famous person, I think it was a fashion designer. It took 7 people, amazing! It's a very interesting book entitled "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell.

Microsoft studied messaging habits? So THAT'S what they're doing with their instant messenger! Tracking all our inbound and outbound messages. So much for user privacy! Do you actually trust Macroshaft to listen to your messaging quietly and not use it for their own purposes?

This is OLD news.

Linked: The New Science of Networks, by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi showed this principle is valid.

"Linked" was published in 2002 - so the research was complete much before that.

While this is kind of interesting, I think the extrapolation to the conclusions about it being a "small world" aren't supported.

Sure it's a large sample, but it's not a very representative sample of the world's population. It shouldn't be surprising that when you look at a segment of the population with some specific traits in common, that they are relatively closely connected. Only ~20% of the world's population uses the Internet, and only a small percentage of those people use MSN Messenger.

So, for example, this analysis doesn't tell us anything about how closely connected a farmer in an isolated community in Asia is to one in Africa.

I personally find this to be a large scale intrusion of privacy. It's interesting to hear that Microsoft is monitoring our chat conversations, personally prying into ones lives and even possibly extrapolating information to outside sources whom have no common right to posses this information. Sure they label it as research and such but what they're doing is at par with what the Bush Administration is doing with theyre large scale domestic/foreign wiretapping. As time progresses we seem to lose our privacy more and more to the point where if we still have any privacy at all we shall no longer posses any privacies in the forseeable future.

Comment: Maybe in chat. But I don't think it's true in real life.
For example many old men or tribes or people that live in small cities are not connected at all with "external" world..

Actually in the 20th century this isn't true but to a very very limited population. Say for instance you go to church. There's a good chance your pastor has known or shaken hands with someone in the remotest tribe in Africa or China or South America on a mission trip - or at least with 5 more degrees of that pastor.

I believe in the 6.2 degree figure but I think its pure ignorance to clam that this is a conclusive study that can be applied to the while world in general....

To those who seem to be "SHOCKED" about Microsoft and your "privacy". You should really click that little thing called the "privacy agreement" before you blindly click on AGREE for ANY service!

OF COURSE they have that information. If you own a domain your server keeps logs don't they? Daily Galaxy knows EVERYTHING YOU DO HERE! You MUST assume it is ALL captured and stored on ALL pages that you visit.

Study based on Microsoft and instant messages? Conclusion: There are 6-7 spammers who deliver Viagra to 250 million people.

Total Bollox! Where do people find this false info? A total dose of mince, period.

Very interesting! It's hard to believe that I'm connected to some random woman across the world through only 6 people.

erm...only 10-20% of mankin have access to the internet. of these there are preferences of software use according to their social environment(why should i use aim to text my friends on skype?). so basically this report says: u and ur friends are connected aswell as friends of their friends and so on and this doesnt go further then 6 links like this and thats the end of the social complexity in the web, cuz the rest of people hasn't an im acc nor i-net.
to roll it up as if u knew every1 in the world if u just ask around in ur friendlist sounds to me like the totallitarian tip toe of the new world order (sry, for conspiracy theories but that's exactly the kind of "knowledge" that makes u a conformist by believing the world is so close together and we're all friends and just leaving all the 3rd world people out of the figures like they don't count as human beeings.
p.s. i know i'm exagurating by taking this seriously but even if u don't this will soon be common knowledge and people younger than you hearing this all over will start believing and thats just it. like 9\11: if u don't get to her a different p.o.v all u can believe is the misinformation. and that's it: only misinformation twisting your view of the world.
how could u be related by 6.6 persons to those undiscovered tribes in south america? u can't.
they live their live, you live yours. don't start believing all people are like you.
just my oppinion. like it or not.

You can find some practical considerations about 6DoS on blog «L'Indipendente» in article «Six degrees of separation».

http://lindipendente.splinder.com/post/18765479/Six+degrees+of+separation

wow!!!! very interesting info.. thanks!!!

Very funny Paul.. Maths needs people like you in fact we all do.. I wonder how many people you could make laugh by adding the Daily Galaxy to the power of 6.. Hmmm... With everyone being just that little bit happier by the experience you could start your very own "Six degrees of staying together" rather than separation.... Keep sharing the laugh Paul.

So we live in an "internal" world?

"Microsoft has studied a total of 30 billion instant messages sent by over 250 million people in June of 2006."

Just how freaking scary is that? I'm uninstalling Messenger tonight.

Messenger has a lot of problems on it's hands, especially security!

I agree to Dale. In fact the messanger is freaking.

I agree to Dale. In fact the messanger is freaking.

The social pulse of human connectivity is very subtle. And it's difficult to study it.

Great, great blog, I have bookmarked, I really like your blog, I will always come

Thank you, I love you, our future more exchanges


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