A Small World – 19 Click Study

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According to a study conducted by Albert-Lasko Barabasi, a Hungarian-based physicist, claims any two pages on the internet are separated by only 19 clicks of the mouse. This equation applies regardless of whether its the most remote location in cyberspace or Facebook. Barabasi estimates that there exists 14 billion web pages on the world wide web. By including images, videos and hosted files to that count, the number becomes 1 trillion documents floating around the web.

This rather shocking discovery regarding our more intimate access to everywhere on the web renders the immensity of cyberspace to something more akin to Mr. Rodgers neighborhood. Based on Barabasi’s findings, you are within 19 clicks of reaching any other site on the the internet at any time. For example, contacting that childhood buddy you haven’t seen since the third grade is only 19 click away from you. Although, one’s intuition goes counter to the study’s findings, the 19 click theory is based more on human behavior than physics.

Professor Barabasi’s findings concluded that our proximity to each other is derived from the manor in which mankind catalogs his information. As social creatures of habit, we tend to connect web information by multiple categories such as geographical location, shared interests, organizations and so on. These categories are cataloged in search engines, directories, indexes and aggregaters. The ability to store information in these mufti-platform locations is what gives us the ability to traverse the internet and always be within 19 clicks of the entire universe of web sites from any given web location.

Also social sites such as Reddit, Path and Twitter have further strengthened our ability to be only handful of clicks from any all 14 billion web pages. The social network has also streamlined our ability to accomplish the 19 click rule. However, if you conclude that fewer of web sites would reduce the number of required clicks to travel from one end of cyberspace to the other, think again. Barabasi determined that even a small reduction in web sites would make the internet much less connected. Any eliminated sites would result in broken connections to the more obscure internet connections.

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