The 7 people lemma and my experiments with Orkut
Its a small world after all!
Listening to japanese music, always makes me quirky. And as it happened one day, I was listening to the sound track of some of my favorite anime and not understanding a single word of the songs, but nevertheless thoroughly enjoying it. And with the vigour of japanese rock, a thought , an idea if you will, slowly started to take form. (insert evil laugh with lightening here!). Yes , It was from a very simple statistical conjuncture, often misleading and errenoulsy called the ‘7 people Lemma’. The lemma states that,
‘On an average every person in this world knows every other person through atmost 7 people excluding himself’ This was what made me spend a whole sleepless night with this website called orkut. Now “orkut.com is a new social networking service named for the Google engineer who developed it, Orkut Buyukkokten. (Orkut is easier to spell and pronounce than Buyukkokten.)”. Self explainatory isin’t it. But thats not the point of this post anyway. Orkut, has an invite system, pretty much like google’s gmail . And, to get an acount you need to know someone already there. So, now you may ask what does all this have to do with the first few lines of this post.Well, for starters, orkut is the perfect place to test the 7 person lemma. and orkut makes it even more comfortable to check it out, as it gives the shortest path to the person(yo! dijkstra!). So, now adapting the lemma for our cyberworld needs, I had to give the original conjuncture a bit more room. So, instead of 7 people, I had to increase the number to a comfortable 11(also because, I am the perfect asocialite possible!). And started experimenting.
And to say, the results were nothing short of astounding!. As I moved across communities, ethinicities, and sometimes even nationalities, the maximum length of path was mostly around 6 or 7. And the longest path I ever encountered on one whole day of ambling around in the orkut world, was around 10. And also, its always suprising when some person who you would never ever know, and possibly never meet in real life, is just 3 hops away. On the other hand, its also interesting to think about the fact that, when someone you reached through one friend, is even more easily by some other friend. Well, doesn’t this line of reasoning have a lot of interesting ramifications. So, what do you expect, Its a small world after all!!.
PS : any one, who wants an orkut invitation just mail me.(email@example.com)