Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Six degrees of separation

Apparently there are six degrees of separation in the world. That means that, in theory, anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. There is a Facebook application dedicated to it although, to be honest, I've never really figured out how it works.

Microsoft studied more than 30 billion electronic conversations among 180 million people and found that on average 6.6 "hops" were needed to link two apparently unconnected people. A commentator said that people in New Zealand were often said to have only two degrees of separation. Well, it's frequently said that Wellington is a village, and everyone knows everyone here (practically). Again, I'm not entirely sure how that's possible but it seems to be true.

A couple of years ago, friends held a six degrees of separation party. They were worried that their guests, who came from very different interest/work groups would not find anything in common at their party and stick to themselves, so they engineered a little experiment to get people to mix and match. I ended up meeting up with a former neighbour, who now lived in their neighbourhood, and a couple of others who knew my father through musical circles. I think they worked out that everyone at their party were separated by four degrees.

But here's my two degrees of separation ... this morning, New Zealand woke to the news that Jemaine Clement, Wellington's own celebrity from Flight of the Conchords fame, has married his long-time girlfriend, Miranda Manasiadis. Miranda and I used to go to school (primary and secondary) together. We'd sit together on the bus into town each morning and, through sleep-encrusted eyes, talk about trivial teenage stuff. I remember when she first started acting (we were Iris and Ceres, mythical gods in the school production of The Tempest, wearing the most ridiculous costumes you've ever seen). I was really pleased to see that she pursued a career in theatre, and now she has bagged one of Wellington's most eligible bachelors.

1 comment:

Latharia said...

Great social experiment!! I wonder if I could connect myself to you through 6 degrees of separation. Hmmm...