Life is full of patterns, but often times, we do not realize as much as we should that mathematics too is full of patterns. I’ve been fascinated with numbers all of my life, I believe it began in grade school while watching Major League Baseball and predicting outcomes based on players batting and earned run averages. I’ve made a career out of numbers and I now use number theory with my use of social networks and networking. Basic mathematics and further advances in communication technology, particularly the Internet have drawn great attention to social networks and human interconnectedness.
Wikipedia Definition- Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is approximately six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps.
2011, Facebook has updated the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory, announcing that a joint study shows that any single person on earth is a mere 4.74 steps away from being introduced to any other person, instead of the believed upon six.
On LinkedIn, people in your network are called connections and your network is made up of your 1st-degree, 2nd-degree, and 3rd-degree connections and fellow members of your LinkedIn Groups. I advise using LinkedIn groups to extend your reach to other group members, and filling the gaps in your current network. Once you’ve joined these groups, the best approach is to participate in or start discussions beforehand. This builds credibility and entices folks to agree to connection requests based on the fact that you have a shared viewpoint and authentic interest in similar subject matters. Another way to link to weak ties is to go through strong ties. To do that effectively, use LinkedIn to search for your desired place of employment or possible business contact. That search will result in folks who are second, third or even first degree connections that you should reach out to via your stronger ties; it’s important to leverage your stronger ties’ relationships with people out of your network but within their own. Similarly, one should look beyond their strong ties and reach out to people they are associated with four or five degrees out. Today, social media makes the job of identifying these ties much easier. Indeed, it’s the premise that LinkedIn is built upon. Facebook and LinkedIn not only suggest people you may know through weaker connections, the social platforms also provide information on educational, professional, and personal interests; data essential to constructing tailored introductions and conversations.
Mathematics, networking, social media and interconnectedness…I’ve learned a few lessons over the years; such as:
- Sometimes making important connections is as easy as talking to the person who happens to be next to you. Don’t be afraid…
- Always be ready for unexpected opportunities, and put yourself in situations where opportunities are likely to arise. Move out of your comfort zone…
- Sometimes bigger is better, referring to the number of possible connections & opportunities presented.
Is there such a thing as too many connections?
Recently, I held a networking event attended by more than 350 business owners and/or professionals. I received some critique indicating there were too many people in attendance. I was astounded by this critique and it made me question the basis of my social theory…I believe in number theory, averages, limitless opportunities, degrees of connections and the basic assumptions of a “friend of a friend”. In the end, I do believe in numbers and in this case, bigger is better. You never know if that next person you meet is your next largest client or opportunity.