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Six Degrees of Separation

Posted by Trzebiatowski, Max - July 6, 2016 - Advising, Business and Economics, Featured, Max Trzebiatowski, SBE Engagement


Max T

Max Trzebiatowski

Have you ever heard of the six degrees of separation theory? My blog today talks about the idea that you are way more connected that you think. Even after you drop all technological devices; your family, friends and connections all have family, friends and connections, too.

This past weekend my family and I attended my godfather’s funeral. He made it to the ripe old age of 82 years young, and was blessed with six children and two stepchildren. Each of which is wildly successful, too, I may add. A few days before the ceremony, my godmother asked if I would read at mass. I immediately agreed, and started to look back on all of my memories with my Uncle Mike.

I was especially drawn to his obituary. I knew a lot about his career growing up as a medical doctor. He was a doctor of internal medicine. The more I read through, the more I learned. Some of the things that I didn’t even know. He was deeply routed in many different organizations all over his hometown of Wisconsin Rapids. He won awards. He traveled. He even graduated top of his class. I also learned that his brother spent 35 years coaching at Amherst College.

As I looked over the family and group of friends that were present at his funeral, I couldn’t help but realize how connected this man was, and how tangled and intertwined the crowd was. That is a lasting impression that won’t ever fade. Connections are what drives any good system.

You can do it, too! Maybe not exactly the same path my uncle took, but you can be a connected, beneficial member to your community, and grow your true social network.

Six degrees of separation comes from a theory back in 1929 that says that you can be connected to anyone on this planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.

Ever wanted to meet the president? Warren Buffet? Morgan Freeman? Your celebrity crush? Your real in-person crush? How about an interviewer for a job or a business owner?

Chances are that someone you met, or someone you will soon meet, knows someone who knows someone who knows that person, or knows someone who has met that person.

It is truly unbelievable at how intermingled we all are.

Facebook can tell us how many mutual friends we share with a certain person. I run into this all the time. I see someone who knows all of the same people that I do, but I’ve never heard of them before.

LinkedIn can tell you if you are a first, second or third connection based on how you know someone, or if you are connected to anyone they are connected with. Chances are that someone you know, knows a business owner, or someone in HR that is looking for employees.

Researchers actually do a lot of work on this theory. Facebook actually tells us that in most cases it is less than six steps to get to someone.

Viewing people as Social Capital

Your true social network is made up of people. People you get to know through shared events and happenings. It is not just about likes, shares or comments. Key Performance Indicators of your true social network is built on win-win situations of added value to both parties.

No matter what your charted course or major is, the journey you embark on to get to your end goal is sure to be filled with new faces, new places and certainly tons of different interactions. No matter where you are in your life or career, remember that every opportunity you have to meet someone or talk to someone is a networking moment. There is always a new door to be opened and new opportunity to take advantage of.

You have the ability to grow your network as big as you want. If you really want to meet someone, you just need to find a creative way to do so.

– Max T –

Max Trzebiatowski ’13 is the advising director in the UW-Stevens Point School of Business and Economics. He can be contacted at 715-346-2695, or in CPS 100.

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