Have you ever heard of the game six degrees of Kevin Bacon? The famous celebrity has worked with so many different people that he can quickly be used as a link to almost any actor. In my math class senior year of high school, we studied a proof that proved that the 7 billion people in the world are similarly separated by only six people, a commonly believed theory. But, my teacher added another layer onto that proof, and showed us that only three people separate one billion Facebook users.
Even though I learned that in a menial math class three years ago, that number has stuck with me. To think that there’s only three people separating me from an entire world of Facebook users is mind boggling. That tiny number turns a world filled with the unknown into a more easily managed community. It quite literally defines the meaning of the saying “a small world”.
Because Facebook slims down the number of separation between the population from six to three, it allows broadcasted messages to flow more quickly, especially breaking news. In an instant, Facebook can spread masses of information to masses of people, keeping the public better informed. By the way of allowing users to post articles on their own while also having news outlets feature sponsored posts, Facebook has turned into a true news hub. This has become especially important during times of strife throughout the world. Not only does Facebook provide a setting for sharing the breaking news, it also gives users an opportunity to connect with their friends on the matter. Like with the recent protests after the shooting of black men in Charlotte, North Carolina, Facebook users were able to check-in as “safe”, informing their Facebook friends with a notification that they were okay during the frightening event. While this isn’t the first time Facebook’s check-in feature has allowed its users to quickly spread their well being in the midst of a breaking news story, it still proves to be useful time and time again.
Facebook also allows news to be spread with their “trending” sidebar. On the right side of home page, users can find any of the top, most talked about at the moment stories.
As I hover over it right now, I can see that the shooter from the mall shooting in Oregon was under a no firearm order, that a severed head was found in a paper bag in Chicago, and that the movie “The Exorcist” has premiered, along with many other stories. With just one click, Facebook has shown me the articles of nine different news sites without taking me from my home page. With another click, I can customize my showings, and chose to see either politics, science and technology, sports, or entertainment news stories. With all these different tabs, Facebook has centralized a variety of different news outlets and stories, making them easily accessible for their users, and in turn, more read.