Just 6 intros away from the famous

LONDON: Do you know you are just six introductions away from famous people like the Dalai Lama or Barack Obama? Though it sounds strange, we are all linked by chains of acquaintance, a new study has found.

Researchers at Microsoft, who analysed the emails of some 180 million people around the globe, backed the theory that everyone is connected every other person on the planet by six degrees of separation, the Sunday Telegraph has reported.

After studying the links between 30 billion separate emails, the researchers said any two strangers in the world of 6.6 billion people are distanced by precisely 6.6 degrees of separation.

“What we’re seeing suggests there may be a social connectivity constant for humanity. People have had this suspicion that we are really close,” said lead researcher Eric Horvitz. “But we are showing on a very large scale this idea goes beyond folklore.”

Horvitz and his fellow researcher Jure Leskovec looked at the minimum chain lengths it would take to connect 180 billion different pairs of users in their database. They found the average length was 6.6 hops, and 78 per cent of the pairs could be connec-ted in seven steps or fewer.

The six degrees of separation theory became popular in 1994 following the invention of the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon by Albright College students. The idea was to connect every film actor to Bacon in six cast lists or fewer.