It’s a small world after all

Milgrim’s Small world experiment examined the average path length for social networks of people in the United States. The “six degrees” describes the number of people on average it would take to connect two people in a network. This type of experiment was only the start social network analysis and a basis for social media networks to study how to better connect with their users. Visualization of networks is vital to social media growth. Different versions of Milgrim’s experiment has been performed in different fields of study. Yahoo and Facebook combined forces and performed their version of the Small World experiment.

According to Cameron Marlow, Facebook’s chief data scientist, “Facebook depends on its connectedness… This is our best chance to measure this fundamental piece of the social graph, so the more users that participate, the clearer the signal will be.”

Another interesting version of the experiment was done by Coca-Cola. You might have seen the commercials for it. Coca Cola started a campaign in 2013 called “Small World Machines.” In their version of the experiment, Coca Cola intended to connect two nations, India and Pakistan, through vending machines interactions (video is at the bottom).  Because the tension between the two nations, Coca Cola goal seems unattainable, but the reminder that we are all human and are connected in some way.

This campaign was a major success and saw great strides in growth on Coca Cola’s social media followers. Coca-Cola saw 36% growth in the number of fans from India on Facebook. In real numbers, that’s 600,000 new fans that Coca-Cola added in the first 10 days of the campaign.  Reminding people that the world is a small more intimate place where we are all connected in some way is a significant accomplishment for a campaign and hopefully will be the model for future branding ventures.


The 3 minutes video, which was uploaded on the 19th of May, gained over 280,000 views in just 24 hours. It then went on to receive over 1.4m views.