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Six degrees of separation

Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. The theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called “Chains.” Playwright John Guare popularized the phrase when he chose it as the title for his 1990 play of the same name.

You may be able to jump start your search by knowing people that know high powered people and so on. In theory you can get a message to George W. Bush by knowing someone who knows Governor Mitch Daniels (Indiana) who then will deliver it to Bush. You probably can get a message to any politician in Washington if you know or know someone who knows James Carville and/or Mary Matalin (the political consultants). If you want to reach Peyton Manning you may be able to reach him through Tony Dungy, his coach, or Eli, his brother, or Kyle DeFur the president of the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.

I bring these examples up because I have recently been experimenting with the social networking site LinkedIn. My son is having fun with Facebook and I have been reading a lot about the value of social networking so I signed up on LinkedIn, a site for professionals, a couple of weeks ago. About a week later I got two messages from individuals I had not heard of for a while asking me to “connect” with them. It was fairly easy, click a link and it’s done. This weekend while exploring the site I came across a tool that would identify names in my Outlook mailbox that are LinkedIn members. The tool provided an easy way to “connect” with any or all of them. I sent out a few messages and in a very short time had over 50 responses!

What makes the site really interesting is the way it helps you potentially contact individuals. You type in the name of someone you would like to meet. If he/she is a member of LinkedIn the site will identify the easiest path to contact them. For example one of your contacts may also be a contact of the person you want to meet. It will also tell you how many “degrees” you are apart.

This should be a great way to start a conversation or at least find out some background information on people you are interested in conducting business with.

Click here for my LinkedIn information and let’s get connected.

Until next time – all the best!


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