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>> On Jan 21, 2006, at 4:50 AM, Darrell Berry wrote:
>>> Wondering if any of you socnetters has a view on, or references  
>>> for the Economist's claim (January 21st 2006, A Survey of the  
>>> Company, p.2) that 'according to more recent work along the same  
>>> lines [as Milgram's 6-degrees study], that number has now fallen  
>>> to 4.6' due mostly, they infer, to organisationally- and  
>>> electronically-mediated networking?

> Valdis Krebs wrote:
>> It all depends what they are using as a definition of a "tie".   
>> You put the bar low enough and we can beat the  average of 4.6  
>> steps easily.  For instance, how is everyone tied in this group --  
>> SOCNET?  Darrell, am I now "connected" to you, because I responded  
>> directly to your post -- even though by most definitions we are  
>> strangers?  We can probably come up with several, contrasting,  
>> definitions of what is a tie here, and therefore who is connected 
>> [directly and indirectly], and what the average distance is.   
>> Oh... is that a simple average or a weighted average?
>> Remember the old joke about looking for an accountant, and you ask  
>> each candidate:  "What does 1 + 1 equal?"  And supposedly the  
>> "ideal" candidate responds with: "What would you like it to be?"

On 21 Jan 2006, at 13:17, Darrell Berry wrote:

> Well that's nub of the question -- I was wondering if anyone know  
> what study this referred to, and what the methodology was! I have  
> the horrible feeling that the meme they're suggesting here will be  
> picked up unquestioningly by other media outlets and become a much- 
> quoted factoid without any real substance to it!

You mean, more than "six degrees of separation" already is?  I don't  
see that it would make much of a difference if it were picked up: one  
largely substance-free much-quoted factoid would replace another.   
(I'm not running down Milgram's original study--far from it!--but its  
applicability, as Valdis points out, is far more constrained than the  
popular imagination would have it.)

Joshua O'Madadhain

jmadden@ics.uci.edu...Obscurium Per Obscurius...www.ics.uci.edu/~jmadden
Joshua O'Madadhain: Information Scientist, Musician, and Philosopher- 
At-Tall
   It's that moment of dawning comprehension that I live for--Bill  
Watterson
   My opinions are too rational and insightful to be those of any  
organization.

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