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On 5/26/06, Tim Keller <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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> The ABC TV network just announced that one of its new shows this fall will
> be titled "Six Degrees". From ABC's press release:
> Who will you touch? Who will touch you? ...
> Also, while I was looking for the above link I found another show by the
> same name, apparently airing now on various cable channels:
> Lonely Planet Six Degrees is a new flagship series produced by Lonely
> Planet. Playful, sassy, streetsmart and unexpected, Lonely Planet Six
> Degrees connects its viewers to what makes each city special – the people
> that live in it. Lonely Planet Six Degrees explores the world's coolest
> cities by connecting with the people who live in them. By emphasising the
> human dimension of travel, Lonely Planet Six Degrees moves beyond
> sightseeing and offers the surest way of being whisked off your feet and
> fast-tracked to the heart of the city. Avoiding the well-known tourist
> attractions, each Lonely Planet Six Degrees journey begins with a traveller
> arriving in a new city with just a single point of contact. From this
> initial encounter a chain of connectivity is forged across the city as one
> person leads to another and another another. Meeting six strangers in sixty
> minutes, our travellers experience the city through the eyes of some of its
> most colourful and clued-in residents, proving that it's the people, the
> lives they lead, and the stories they tell that give a city its soul, rather
> than just the bricks and mortar.
My 2 cents:
Depressingly, neither of these shows looks like it has much actual SNA
knowledge behind it.
The first clue is "They say that anyone on the planet can be connected
to any other person through a chain of six people, which means that no
one is a stranger... for long."; from what I've read so far even
though the Milgram experiment shows "six" degrees of seperation it
can't be generalized to everyone as pop-culture has it, because the
study was methodologically flawed: "What Milgram asked people to do
was GUESS who would be the likely next candidate in passing on the
message." <http://www.danah.org/papers/ETech2004.html>, and the sample
space was only a small region of North America. Also, "no one is
stranger for long" is wrong, because, iirc, studies have shown that
the maximum seperation that resulted in contact was 2 or 3 (but I
don't have a reference for this at hand). Furthermore, both shows only
really use the "6 degrees of separation" in token ways: the first
seems to assume that just because there is a path that all 6 actors
are in that they should therefore all end up interacting, and the
second only uses it as a gimmick for yet-another-city-documentary.
This certainly shows that SNA is gaining popularity wildly, and of
course the danger that always occurs when that happens is that it's
focus will be lost in the trendiness. I doubt any of the researchers
on this list will have that problem, but others who try to make use of
the discipline often will.
Thanks, Tim, for pointing this out.
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