New research suggests Facebook has shrunk the distance between any two human beings

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From PS Mag:

Six degrees of separation? Please. In the Facebook era, the number of people between you and any other human being has dropped below four.

That’s the conclusion of a newly published study from Taiwan. Eman Yasser Daraghmi and Shyan-Ming Yuan of National Chiao Tung University report that “the average number of acquaintances separating two people, no matter who they are … is not six, but 3.9.”

You say you don’t know any “footwear engineers”? Well, a friend of a friend of yours probably does—and if not, one of his or her acquaintances almost certainly does.

What’s more, that 3.9 figure is for people in unusual and largely self-contained professions, such as a Chinese-to-Korean translator. The average degree of separation between Facebook members, they compute, is about 3.2.

As they note in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, they found “the average degree of separation ranges from 3 to 4, even when ignoring celebrities.” What’s more, “Even a person who works in one of the rarest professions can be found within 4 degrees of separation.”

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