You may have heard of the terms 6 derees of separation before.
This theory explains how everyone
is connected to everyone else in 6 steps or fewer.
But did you know there’s similar theory
called the 3 degrees of influence?
It started off when a study followed
around 5,000 participants for 20 years.
The researchers found that if one person is happy,
their friend was 15% more likely to be happy, too.
But it didn’t stop there.
A friend of friend was 10% more likely to be happy,
and even at 3 degrees of separation,
there was still a statistically significant increase of 6%.
Since then, other experiments have found the same rule
applies for a variety of different things,
包括肥胖 抽烟 协同行为和孤单
including obesity, smoking, cooperative behavior and loneliness.
Take the example of cooperating.
If you do a random act of kindness for someone else,
that person will remember the gesture,
and next time they will more likely to help others.
Then the next person will also become more likely to help someone.
This process quickly becomes a cascade.
所以 基本上 你的行为不止会影响你的朋友
So basically, your behaviors not only influence your friend,
but your friends, friends, friend.
On the other hand,
this means that’s someone you don’t even know
could be subtly influencing your behavior, too.
All this means, you should be
very aware of who you hang around.
Now this isn’t a strict rule,
not everything has 3 degrees of influence.
But the general idea is that things ripple through a social network,
and it’s interesting to see just how far that ripple travels.
On the other hand, what can you do
to maximize the power of your social network?
Well, this requires us
to look at a different field of research.
So let’s say you are trying to find a new job.
What’s the best way to use your social network?
Most people will try to build stronger relationships with the right person.
I mean the closer you are to that person,
the more likely they’ll be to help you out, right?
Or maybe they’ll ask their good friends
if they know of any job availabilities.
Basically, they will rely on the strong ties.
But in reality, it’s those who are least connected
to us that are most likely to help us out.
This is all because of how social networks are shaped.
You know the saying that birds of a feather flock together.
Well, a review of over 100 different studies
conclude that this is most definitely true.
Notice how black people tend to hang around other black people,
or how your group of your friends come from a similar background.
In fact, the factors which create the strongest divide is race,
接着是年龄 宗教 教育和职业
followed by age, religion, education and occupation.
Furthermore, the review also found that
the more different you are from another person,
the faster your relationship will dissovle.
As a result, networks are often made up of
clusters of like-minded people,
linked together by acquaintances.
These are called weak ties.
Now, if you go out there,
and ask your strong ties for new jobs,
they’re going to be pretty similar to you,
类似的年龄 类似的背景 类似的视角
similar age, similar background and similar perspective.
Therefore, they are more likely
to have the same information as you do.
Compare this to a weak ties,
sure you are not as connected to them,
and you don’t get along as well.
But this means that they’re probably part of a different network,
they probably come from a different background,
and hence they are more likely to have new information,
such as where to get a job.
As evidence, one study found that only 16% of people
found their job through a person they were regularly seen.
The rest came from people who they only saw occasionally or rarely.
In fact, you are almost twice as likely
to get a job from someone you rarely spoke to,
compared to someone you are regularly conntecting.
This paradox was called the strength of weak ties.
Now this doesn’t just apply to jobs,
you can apply this to finding a new boyfriend or girlfriend.
Obviously, if you ask your best friend
to suggest you someone new,
they are probably going to know the same people as you do.
But when you talk to a weak tie,
you’re exposed to a whole nother network.
In fact, with pretty much anything
that involves the spread of information.
It’s better to go to the weak tie.
So while it’s good to have close friends,
don’t neglect the power of weak ties.
Because they offer the most potential for change in your life.