HomeThoughts and MusingsUpdate: 6 Degrees of Separation – The Experiment

A few weeks ago, I posted about my 5 Degrees of separation from George Washington. A commenter posted to say he found it interesting, as he was in the process of writing a similarly-themed post for his own, non-genealogy blog. Given the theme, I started wondering: “How many degrees of separation might there be between me and this random person, and could I get there within in the magic ‘6’ ?”

A little background:


My newest UK friend, Dale


The person’s name is Dale Preece-Kelly. He writes a blog called Self Hope For the Helpless , and hails from Rugeley, UK. We’d never met or heard of each other and our blog meeting was entirely random. I was not at all sure how to go about tackling our degrees of separation, but thought it would be fun to try.

The Process and Progress:

Using a little technological advantage, I found Dale on Facebook, explained what I wanted to do, and invited him to connect. Once we did that, I was able to look through his friends list to learn what I could from them. I saw that he had many connections in the music world, which seemed like the best route to go. First we needed some ground rules –  the most important of which was that each connection must have at least had a conversation, email message, or some actual contact with the next person in the chain.

Among his friends on Facebook was James Hetfield – lead singer of Metallica. While Dale was not necessarily friends with him, he had met him so it counted. I sent two emails. The first was to a classmate who had toured with Metallica. The second was to a fellow Full Sail alum, Mike Exeter. Mike lived in the UK and worked not only in the music business, but with a number of well-known metal bands.  When I google-mapped Mike’s location, it turns out his town is only 45 minutes from Dale’s!

While there is surely a connection to be found through my friend Mike, my other classmate provided an easy connection. The classmate knew a member of Metallica from tours with other bands.  (A confession: I took it for granted that a member of a band would know the singer).  So there it was, just that quickly – 4 degrees of separation between us. I wanted to do a little research and see if I could find a closer connection, but for now this will have to do. It was a pretty cool experiment and probably took you longer to read this than it did for me to connect to him.

An Idea For Further Fun

Here’s something I plan to try. It might be fun for you all to try with a random connection of your choice: I’m going to try and get a letter to Dale, but I’m not sending it to him, or even including his address. I’m going to mail a letter to my friend –  including only the target person’s name, city, and some instructions.  The instructions will be for each person to add their name to the letter, and mail it on to someone that they think might know Dale. Maybe someone in the local music biz, maybe someone in Rugeley – whatever. Just mail it on, and see if it eventually gets to him. Kinda geeky, yet kinda cool. If any of you try something similar, let me know. Heck – why not try to connect to Dale, also??


Update: 6 Degrees of Separation – The Experiment — 1 Comment

  1. Excellent !! 🙂 thankyou Chris. I say “Bring It On!!”. I am looking forward to all of the mail that I am going to get, and all of the new friends I will make. I certainly look forward to your letter. Mike is currently searching for a connection between us, to bring the degrees down.

    What a fantastic blog – made me smile BIG!!!