Do you remember six degrees of Kevin Bacon? If you can that means you can remember back to 1994 which according to that impressive reference site Wikipedia, is when the ‘small world experiment’ game first came into being.
The small world theory meaning you should be able to prove that there are six degrees or less of separation between you and everyone in the world, as well as six degrees or less between Kevin Bacon and everyone in Hollywood. There were some studies – based on people’s ‘social networks’ – in a time before what we commonly currently use the term social networks for. It was before Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and even before the first blog which was apparently circa 1997 (using the same solid reference point I found the term ‘web log’ was apparently coined then so lets say the practice wasn’t widely spread prior to that point.)
Recent events have made me think about the Kevin Bacon game – who by the way, the whole world can now follow on Twitter (@kevinbacon has the magic tick) so if he replies or RT’s you does that count as being one degree from Kevin Bacon?
Last week I reposted a photo on facebook – it was this one.
I know, I know you’ve seen it before, but it is still gold (and so true, my 9 year old asked me what was that thing above the pencil).
A friend of mine from Hong Kong commented that they still had all their car mixed tapes from 1995 but nothing to play them on, then another friend admittedly another Australian in Durban (I know I said I’m the only one, its a long story and you really need to hear her accent – if they did a spoken test I worry about her ability to renew her passport, she has been here a VERY long time) asked how many blasts from the past was I supplying in one day? Turns out the previous commenter was her neighbour from the 80’s and a suburb in Melbourne I have never visited.
One in Hong Kong and one in Durban – both many miles and many years from home, reconnected, through my facebook page. It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
Remember my first blog stalker who prompted me to put an email contact on the blog? I am happy to say I have corresponded since via email with several people who were seeking information about moving to the Durban area, some making comparisons, some thinking about it and some actually doing it. One of those doing it – was living in Kenya at the time and wanted the feedback of someone who had gone before in dealing with a whole range of things, schools, neighbourhoods, internet connections etc. I was happy to provide any info I could, after all I had found it very tricky in the beginning for a number of reasons. I followed her progress with interest, maintaining a semi-regular email contact about plans, schools, suburbs etc. Then I found out she had moved, turns out into the same suburb as we live and the same street. Our street has FOUR houses! What a coincidence – no really it was, well, I have no proof she previously knew where we lived… Maybe one day, now we know each other in real life, because I always take my new neighbours wine and chocolates, she might become my facebook friend and when I am living in another country she may find I have met a friend of hers and so the connections will continue. Or not – who knows?
The world is a small place and ‘social networks’ are making it smaller. Over Easter I met someone who wasn’t on Facebook (or Twitter before you ask), a girlfriend of a very good friend of mine, someone I would normally probably pop a facebook friend request to after spending the amount of time together that we did over the term of her visit coupled with the fact she might end up with my friend forever more. If she accepted – then I would get to keep up with her news – even if she chose to mute my news stream (I’m sure it happens to the over-sharers amongst us), if not – well, I may never see or hear from her again. It occurs to me I didn’t even get her email address to send the photos that I took of our kids on their Easter egg hunts. Note to self – sort that.
I know some people are nodding their head and saying, yes – thats right, that’s how the world should work. Who would jump into someone else’s life so quickly and start sharing pictures of their kids, dentist visits and what they had for dinner? These people may not have heard of variable privacy settings, or they might not have friends and family on just about every continent there is.
I can’t remember why I joined facebook, perhaps it was because I wanted to see what it was all about, but once in I was hooked. For someone like me who has lived in several different places at different times of my life and has grandchildren separated by an ocean or two from their grandparents and extended family – its a good place for me to be. I have at times prefaced photos or posts as ‘Grandparents only need read / see’, these kind of things include ballet recital videos and judo belt presentations ceremony photos. I didn’t opt out like some of the cool kids who decided to ditch it in preference for Twitter only. Its a place I keep for my friends and family, pretty much people I know in real life . Now I know two people, in real life, who live on two different continents, who knew each other long ago – I think that’s a nice thing, not a freaky one. I’m not sure where that leaves Kevin Bacon but it may leave me just where Mark Zuckerberg wants me.