Six Degrees of Metafilter?
September 5, 2003 4:13 PM   Subscribe

The Small World Project was an online experiment (sponsored by Columbia University) involving over 60,000 email users, developed to test Stanley Milgram's famous "six degrees of separation" hypothesis. In the 1960's Milgram tested his theory that members of any large social network would be connected to each other via short chains of intermediate acquaintances by sending small packets via the USPS to individuals in Nebraska and Kansas, with the hope that the packets would eventually reach the intended recipients in Boston. The 21st century Columbia project used email to attempt to verify Milgram's findings on a global scale, and to see if the length of the contact chains have shortened in the 'virtual' world. Project Description - Procedures - Initial Results as published in Science Magazine, August 2003
posted by anastasiav (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The initial results are:

SCIENCE Online Sign In

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Full Text : Dodds et al., An Experimental Study of Search in Global Social Networks, Science 2003 301: 827-829

posted by notme at 6:27 PM on September 5, 2003

You do not have access to this item:

Hmmm. Well, sorry about that. I have no idea why that link doesn't work for you - try getting there via the link on this page - that's how I got there originally, and I'm not a Science on-line subscriber or anything.
posted by anastasiav at 7:23 PM on September 5, 2003

Basic result: it didn't work.
extremely low chain completion rate (384 of 24,163 chains reached their targets)
posted by languagehat at 8:09 PM on September 5, 2003

To see the results article, start here and click through.
posted by Lafe at 9:17 PM on September 5, 2003

FYI: Using Opera, that alternate link leads to the same sign-in page as the original. On a hunch I tried it in IE and it worked just fine.
posted by boredomjockey at 3:44 PM on September 6, 2003

Aah, that's because Opera was caching the page -- I reloaded in Opera and the alternate link worked. Sorry 'bout that.
posted by boredomjockey at 3:46 PM on September 6, 2003

Well, I imagine that if someone had sent me an e-mail from this study, I would have said, "Ack, more chain-letter crap. Don't you people know that these things are hoaxes?" and deleted it.
posted by kayjay at 10:36 AM on September 7, 2003

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