I’m sure you’ll have heard of the theory that every individual on the planet has a maximum of six degrees of separation from every other individual. In layman’s terms, a friend-of-a-friend is someone who is one degree separated.
So in a partially fictional way I’m friends with someone who’s friends with the Chuckle Brothers (1), who are friends with some producer at the BBC (2), who plays golf with the FD of a national baker (3), whose brother-in-law’s (4) family (5) lives in Uganda and know a witch doctor there (6).
The theory goes that I could get to absolutely everyone on the planet in a maximum of six.
And surely Facebook etc has shown this in real-life. One person says something interesting, it’s ‘liked’ by his friends, and suddenly the audience for this comment is multiplied exponentially. Apparently some salesman called Joe Girard (he’s meant to be a Big Deal) claimed that everyone has 250 important contacts, which means that only two friends away we know 15 million people.
Is the effect that we have on our closest friends significantly greater than it first appears? I think it might be.