Small World Research Project
December 20, 2001 9:51 PM   Subscribe

Small World Research Project After all the work we've done training newbies not to use the Internet for their chain letters (via this New York Times article)
posted by dgeiser13 (4 comments total)
Harvard Sociologist Stanley Milgram sent roughly 300 letters to randomly selected people in Omaha, Nebraska with the instruction to get the letter to a single "target" person in Boston using only personal contacts.

Then, once they found the target, they were supposed to give him a huge electric shock.
posted by delmoi at 10:05 PM on December 20, 2001 (Wayback cache) could have pulled this off, if they'd stuck around.
posted by waxpancake at 10:12 PM on December 20, 2001

Ed mentioned this last month, a couple days after I tried it out (check out my comment on the post).

It was an utter failure. I tried to contact the two principal investigators, and the email contact on their site, and all addresses bounced. If anyone from the research team sees this, please contact me over email for a detailed review of what went wrong, and how to fix it.
posted by mathowie at 10:31 PM on December 20, 2001

"Once you have agreed to participate in this research project, and before you send on the message to your friend, we will ask you for some information about yourself in order to help us trace our messages across various countries and cities, and through different social, economic, racial and religious groups. For example, we would like to know in which city and country you live, what your occupation is, and what sort of education you have received. Some information is optional, and some is required; either way, we can assure you that it will not be shared with anyone."

Call me paranoid, but I'd never participate in a project like this. I don't trust their pledge that data will not be shared. The demographic information gathered about participants and their social networks will be just too valuable not to sell it to advertisers (and give it to the FBI.)
posted by Carol Anne at 4:54 AM on December 21, 2001

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