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Television / Movies / Celebrities PopWrapped | Television

The Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon, Fun For The Whole Family

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author

PopWrapped

@PopWrapped
03/09/2014 3:13 pm
PopWrapped | Television
The Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon, Fun For The Whole Family
Media Courtesy of npr.org

Gloria Ayee

Staff Writer

@GloriaYAyee

Social media allows users to connect with people all over the world, creating a chain of “a friend of a friend.” This links an individual to every other person on the planet! Almost two decades ago, three college students created a parlor game that highlighted the idea of social media connectivity before it even existed. The game, essentially, predicted how Internet/online culture would create a web of connectivity, and proved the theory that any two people are connected by six acquaintances or less. The three Albright College students, Brian Turtle, Craig Fass, and Mike Ginelli created “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” in 1994. The game is based on the theory of “Six degrees of separation,” which suggests that any two people on Earth are connected to each other through six or fewer acquaintances. The “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game became an unlikely pop culture phenomenon as movie enthusiasts challenged each other to find the shortest possible link between Bacon and other celebrities, through the movies that they had in common. The degree of separation between an actor and Kevin Bacon has been mathematically formalized as the Bacon Index. One of the game’s creators, Brian Turtle, joined Bacon at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Film Festival (SXSW) in Austin, TX to discuss how the game came into being. While watching Footloose, Turtle and his two classmates began discussing how Bacon was the “center of the entertainment universe.” The actor  seemed to be everywhere. The game soon spread among their friends, and later gained national attention after it was featured on Jon Stewart’s MTV show. Kevin Bacon admitted that when he first heard about the game he “was horrified by it.” The actor, who appreciates the game now, was initially very resistant to it. “I thought it was a giant joke at my expense,” Bacon said. Bacon thought the game was a fad and all the hype around it would die down, but when it did not he eventually embraced it. Bacon says the idea of everyone on the planet being connected is “a beautiful thing.” In 2007 Bacon launched SixDegrees.org, a charitable organization that is centered on the concept of “social networking with a social conscience.” The organization connects celebrities with charities and fundraising causes, encouraging them to use their “star power to spark social change.” Watch a few Kevin Bacon movies and see how well you do playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” You can also check out The Oracle of Bacon website or do a Google search by typing “Bacon number” followed by any actor’s name to see how celebrities are connected to Kevin Bacon. Fans of Bacon can also find him on the small screen. He is currently starring on the second season of  the Fox series, The Following.

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