Who is the fairest of them all?

On reading the first few chapters of the Social Networking text my colleague Judith commented that some of the social networking concepts  were reminiscent of  going back to high school.  What a fun anology!  But yes, basic network concepts recognize within many of our life networks some members are clearly more powerful, “popular” or better connected than others.   This chapter had me reflecting on the multitude of networks that I have based on the different roles or hats that I wear in my life; mother, instructor, colleague, friend, master’s student, triathlete etc…  It was interesting to consider the overlaps within my networks, in terms of considering the concept of “multiplexity” and “homophily” – how birds of a feather really do flock together.  I was also reminded of the “six degrees of separation” concept.   A fun way to approach this concept is through http://oracleofbacon.org/help.php

This game is based on the “Small World” concept and the idea that actors within the Hollywood movie industry can be linked to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps (well this varies actually).   The connection between Bacon and another actor is expressed as the “Bacon Number”.  This is a silly but fun way to demonstrate how the two factors of homophily and weak ties (friends of friends) work together to shorten the connections among a large group of nodes in a network.  The most connected actor is apparently Sean Connery with a bacon number of 2.8 and the average is 2.9.  So in this case, he is the fairest of them all!  This site is based on the Erdos number concept as applied to the movie industry.

6 thoughts on “Who is the fairest of them all?

  1. judithdyck says:

    The interconnections are amazing. All the good stuff happens between us…

  2. Sylvia says:

    I think I hear “it’s a small world” daily in Vancouver. I can’t go out on the weekend without seeing one person I recognize, and many will tell you the same. It’s amazing how much our networks cross over, and how the personal and professional blends into each other. One of the first things I do when I meet someone new is to check for mutual friends on Facebook and LinkedIn – inevitably, there will be at least one!

    • I remember when Skype was new. We would get these random – unknown ESL Skypers calling from far off to practise their English with a friendly Canadian. It got to be annoying. Now, I’m realizing it might have been a missed opportunity to broaden my small world. (You need to show me how to import a smiley face icon tomorrow. I will put it right here 🙂

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