Facebook users are getting more connected to each other as the service grows and matures, according to a new study by the company’s data team and the University of Milan. Instead of the traditional “six degrees of separation” that researchers have historically observed between all people in the world (and Kevin Bacon), the number of degrees has been dropping since 2008 on the site, from 5.28 then to 4.74 now.
This isn’t just an interesting factoid about the modern world, it highlights Facebook’s long-term strategy, and its dominant market position in social networking. Founder Mark Zuckerberg has proclaimed for years that his goal is to make the world more “open and connected.” In practice, that’s meant features across the site that do things like reveal what friends you have in common with any other user, and suggest that you become friends with people you’ve never met in person and have no friends in common with.
Via Ilona Buchem