Small World


I work at an organization that operates all over the world. Which means that whenever we read about a tragedy, no matter where it is, our thoughts immediately go to "are all of our people ok?" There is almost nowhere in the world where reading about an event doesn't evoke the question and a nagging sense of worry. It is kind of profound to have this sort of connection to the greater world.

Think about this: You hear about a tragedy that directly affects a hundred people across the world. What is the chance you know somebody involved? Probably not all that high. But what is the chance that you know somebody, who knows somebody involved? Much higher. There is this idea that everyone in the world is connected to everybody else with a maximum of six degrees of separation. Meaning you would very likely know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone involved.

As the world becomes more connected the estimate of six degrees of separation is lowering. Research from Facebook in 2016 shows that the number may be as low as 3.57 degrees. The days of a big world where problems are too far away or don't affect *us* are gone. Everything now affects everyone, with the degree of directness increasing. I'll probably find myself in conversations saying "what a small world!" more and more often.

Currently unrated