We’ve all heard the theory known as “six degrees of separation.” It postulates that at any given time, we, as individuals, are no more than six people away from knowing everyone else in the world. The theory states that if you expanded your social circle with the right six individuals, you could ostensibly make a connection with Tom Cruise or a Namibian plainsman.
So many people were intrigued by the six degrees claim, the theory was turned into a game known as “Kevin Bacon,” in which participants use a web of 6 celebrities or movie titles that tie back to the Mystic River star. And now, as strange as it may sound, six degrees has evolved into a website.
At Knover.com , users can enter the name of any celebrity, historical figure, band, business or movie and see how they are related. Although only in its beta version, Knover already connects 16,347 of “The Web’s Most Mentioned.” I have to admit though, I was a little disappointed in the content. Contrary to how it looks, Knover doesn’t actually tell you how the two individuals are intertwined — it just provides you with links to articles in which both people’s names are mentioned. The more articles that mention the two names, the stronger the connection, and as a result, the site can be very misleading. For example, Mahatma Gandhi and Hillary Clinton appear to be best friends, with a strong connection of 20 Knover points. However, upon closer inspection, their relationship is predicated on an apology Hillary issued after joking that Gandhi owned a gas station in St. Louis.
Don’t get me wrong- the site is fun to play around with, but you’d probably do better researching people on Wikipedia than you would Knovering them. In the meantime, I’m going to go back to admiring the millions in my MySpace “Extended Network,” dreaming of the day when I’m six degrees from anyone in the Knover elite.