Friday, November 02, 2007

Your World is Smaller than Kevin Bacon

Everyone remembers the game six degrees of Kevin Bacon, right?

You know the game where you name an actor and actress and you have six steps to connect them to Kevin Bacon through other actors/actresses in their movie roles.

In the last few weeks I have come to realize that in my life there’s only one degree and I am not in any movies. The one degree is usually Facebook or LinkedIn, but for others it’s MySpace and other social networking sites.

Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. As many of us get older (yes, it’s true, I am 39), we have made many friends along the way and lose touch with them as we go down this windy, rocky road we call life.

For me, I grew up in New Jersey. I left to go to college in Boston and have worked in East Lansing, Mich., Washington DC and for the last 10 years in Atlanta. It’s awfully hard to keep track with those chums from college never mind the folks I see on a regular basis in Atlanta.

From time-to-time, I yearn for one more night on the “Banks of the River Charles” and time with my college friends. Well, last week out of the clear blue, I was poked on Facebook by an old-college pal named Tom Kozaitis. He is one of those friends that I met on the first day of college and spent our first year in Stetson Hall West together. We grew up near by in New Jersey and would hang out on the holidays when home as well. Over time, we lost touch. That was until two weeks ago when I got a poke on Facebook from Tom. It had been over 15 years since I had heard or seen him and there he is with pictures of his son and him. It also has tons of causes and information about him that I feel as if I know him as well if not better than before.

In my estimation, this is why social networking is so incredible. It’s not just for the high school or college kids – it’s for those of us who would love to be back in college for at least one day to reconnect with the past.

The big question is how does this translate into advertising dollars for Facebook? Advertising Age’s Matthew Creamer is skeptical to whether this can translate into real dollars and questions whether or not the 30 and 40-somethings will really hang out Facebook.

So when you see what Microsoft spent on a small percentage of Facebook and the estimated 15 billion dollar valuation, take it in stride. It could be the start of things to come as more and more people become part of Kevin Bacon’s game in their own lives.

The question I have is are you on a social network and if you aren’t why not? You would be pleasantly surprised to see who is out there. It just might make you smile within a couple of degrees.

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