From October through December of 2006, we tested the Six Degrees of Separation Hypothesis. You are invited to read about the experiment below.
We attempted to validate the Six Degrees of Separation hypothesis that any two people on the planet are connected through a chain of intermediaries numbering no more than five acquaintances.
To do this we e-mailed individuals in the electronic address book of one of our authors, DL Tolleson. We asked these individuals to forward our e-mail to people with whom they were acquainted and who they thought were likely to personally know any of the target people identified in our e-mail. The friends/acquaintances receiving those forwarded e-mail messages were to do the same, and so on, until the message was delivered to the target people. (Read more about the Six Degrees of Separation Hypothesis in the Wikipedia Encyclopedia.)
Successful chains of acquaintances numbering five to nine intermediaries were to receive free copies of Tolleson’s novel, The Gray Stopgap and Stuart Tower’s The Wayfarers.
So, how did our experiment come about?
Well, Tolleson’s novel, The Gray Stopgap, had garnered three Barnes & Noble staff recommendations and occasional inquiries from Hollywood. This was the topic in a casual e-mail correspondence between our publisher and Tolleson when the legitimacy of the Six Degrees of Separation hypothesis came up.
In closing, our publisher scoffed at the hypothesis that alleged any two people were linked through a chain of five acquaintances. “If that were the case,” our publisher wrote, “your book and name should be household words by now. But not even our Steven Spielberg endorsed novel, The Wayfarers, by Stuart Tower, has obtained that sort of fame.”
And thus the experiment.
There were five target people originally listed only in the e-mail initially sent. These target people were...
Our server logs indicated light interest even though we received confirmation that the messages were forwarded in large numbers. At one point during the experiment we suffered an unrelated server issue and were intermittently on-line during a four-day period while losing 8 days of traffic reports.
However, no chain of intermediaries linked our author to a target person and we were unable to validate the Six Degrees of Separation Hypothesis.
To the hundreds, possibly thousands, who participated in our experiment we express our gratitude.
Public Relations Liaison