Chapter 14Media Channels and Behaviours

When considering another person in the world, a friend of your friend knows a friend of their friend.’


There are no more than ‘6 degrees of separation’ between you and everyone on the planet. This idea was first conceived in 1929 by the Hungarian author, Frigyes Karinthy. His book, Everything is Different, sold very few copies, but his idea lived on.1 When the psychologist, Stanley Milgram, tested the theory in 1967, he concluded that everyone in the United States was connected by an average of three friendship links. But that was just the USA, and the test medium was handwritten letters.2 It wasn't until 2003 that the first full scale global experiment took place. Columbia University's ‘Small World Project’ involved 100,000 people attempting to make connections with 18 targets in 13 different countries. The average chain length was six degrees.3 I wondered how many degrees of separation might separate me from Frigyes. It turned out to be three. Frigyes translated Winnie the Pooh into Hungarian. He met Pooh's author A.A. Milne. Milne employed a young man called Bill Belton to shoot the rabbits in his back garden. When he was older, Bill taught a young boy from the village how to shoot. That boy was me. Small world.

The world is now officially smaller. The media of the moment is social and it's connecting people and ideas in ways few could have imagined a decade ago. When Milgram conducted his experiment in the 1960s, it involved ...

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