If you’ve ever played the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, then you already understand the mission of Yahoo’s new initiative, “The Small World Experiment.”
By teaming up with Facebook, Yahoo is attempting to prove that there is always less than six people between any two random people in the world.
Here’s how it works. Go to Yahoo Research and click to become a Sender. You’ll have to agree to some legalese, then you’ll be matched up with a stranger. I was given a man with a tech background from Tel Aviv who now lives in France. Next, you choose one person from your Facebook friends whom you think is most likely to know or get you closer to this person. I went with the most globally-oriented person on my list since I know I have to cross an ocean to make this connection.
From there, you’ll be asked to fill out some drop-downs regarding how you know the person and why you chose them. Then you send the message to your friend and hope that he doesn’t break the chain. (You may include warnings of an evil curse if they do so.)
At some point, I imagine, I’ll get a message saying whether or not I was successful. Eventually, Yahoo will let us all know if the Kevin Bacon theory works for the whole world or just Hollywood.
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What does this have to do with marketing? A whole lot, actually. Social media marketing is based on the idea that connections grow exponentially as you move outward from the inner circle. If this study can prove that a housewife from Iowa can be connected to a professional gambler in Monte Carlo in less than six steps, then targeting becomes less important. It becomes a case of put it out there because you never know who is going to see it in the end.
Disney’s been saying it for years and soon we may have the truth, that it is indeed a small world after all.