Just six mouse-clicks apart


Email users are only six mouse-clicks away from anyone else in cyberspace, a team including two Australian researchers at New York's Columbia University has found.

Drawing on the six degrees of separation theory, the experiment involved more than 60,000 participants in 166 countries who registered online.

Volunteers were asked to begin an email chain to reach 18 "target" people in 13 countries, including Australia.

Each person in the chain was to forward the email to someone they thought would get it closer to the target. Although some message chains died out, researchers found that emails could reach their targets in an average of five to seven steps.

Full Story, The study is published in the US Science journal today. Researchers have invited registrations for their next study, online at smallworld.columbia.edu.


When I was a kid (I'm 60 years young now), the Sunday Roto section had an article on a similar study done with sending letters. As I recall, they started in the East Coast and the target was in the West Coast. The rules were the same as this study. Most letters reached their target in 6 or less forwards. I thought it was neat at the time (still do).

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