The Six Degrees Of Twitteration

I touched upon this yesterday, but the message may have been lost in the sea of words. It’s an important one and bears repeating, albeit with a minimalist approach.

Everybody on Twitter is connected. Assuming you’re following a healthy number of other users – and in my opinion that’s somewhere between 500 and 1000, but it could be a little less or a little more for you – there’s every chance that through all these sub-networks you’re within touching distance of everybody else. (It also matters that you’re following a lot of the right people, too – ‘right’, of course, being however you define it.)

According to Twinfluence, my reach on Twitter – that is, the total number of people I can theoretically reach with a single tweet thanks to the ripple effect – is 23,420,143. And it’s growing by 47,054 people per day.

I only follow 766 people.

This works two-ways: 23,420,143 can reach me via retweets. Their message can still change my opinion, my business, possibly my life, even though we’re not directly connected. Facebook can’t do this. MySpace can’t do this. Friendfeed can kind of do it, but you’re looking at a much smaller population. Because of the open, public nature of the platform, Twitter brings millions of people together. Everybody can tap into the hive mind at all times, either through the slight degrees of separation, or Twitter search.

So, remind me again: why are you following 50,000 people?