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Six Degrees of Separation. Or is it?

By September 16, 2010 No Comments

By Angela
New Organizing Project blogger
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Year 2010. All of us are living in the midst of a social media revolution. Social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace have allowed millions of people to be connected in ways that are impacting and transforming our lives whether directly or indirectly, consciously or subconsciously.

It sometimes fascinates me to think “wow, what a small world” when I meet someone who turns out to be related to a person I know. The notion of the famous “six degrees of separation, which according to Wikipedia, “six degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in six steps or fewer” has always intrigued me. However, six degrees of separation may be an outdated notion in the social media era we live in today. For example, it is becoming more common that any two people are connected through a single or mostly less than six steps. Six degrees of separation is getting smaller such that when I search any random person through Facebook or twitter, I am most likely to have at least one or a number or friends in common that may share my interest or tell me some information about that person.

These connections are surly fascinating, but it may also be an important medium for creating social change. According to Deanna Zandt, author of Share This,

“When we’re connecting, sharing, and changing the understanding of the people around us, we are at the beginning of making this world a better place. How we share information, find community, and both connect and disconnect will give us unprecedented influence over our place in the world.”

But just how can we make social change happen when we are not running around signing petitions or physically attending a campaign? How is it that we can make a difference in this world by simply sitting in front of the computer, surfing the web and being connected within our social networking hemisphere?

Imagine that you are reading a link about the immediate need for comprehensive immigration reform. When you are reading this link, you might really enjoy what the author has to say and you “like” the link on your Facebook. Your friends see in the News Feed that you “liked” the link and they become curious and read the link as well. Your friend may not have been a big supporter of immigration reform, but this link may have allowed him to see something new and changed his perspective. He goes on to “like” the link that his network of friends may notice and read as well that has the potential to make some people to take direct action. This kind of ripple effect can become the momentum for the necessary social change through the use of social networking.

Blogging is a social media tool and a whole new world of communication that is foreign to me. However, I believe in the power of written words and that words can truly move people. Because I understand the power of social media and have a passion for creating social change, I, along with my fellow bloggers, am embarking on a journey to make a difference through our blogs on topics that matter that are also enjoyable to read and think about. Again, according to Zandt,

“world’s problems [aren’t] going to fix themselves. Change starts with each one of us. Be the change you wish to see.”

We all have a potential to make a difference in this world and to make social change. Will you join us in our efforts to capitalize on the power social networking to be and make the change we all wish to see? If so, become an engaged follower and reader for our blog and look deep within your heart to light your passion for social change.

As a first step, did you #NOPit today?