The theory of six degrees of separation, which says that it only takes six steps to link one person in the world to anyone else may actually be reasonably accurate if a US study of instant messaging is any indication. The theory itself has proved a somewhat popular social phenomenon since it was first published, spawning a movie of the same name, as well as the now famous Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon trivia game. The study, carried out by researchers on the Microsoft Messaging project, used a database that covered all of the Microsoft Instant messaging network (a good chunk of global messaging traffic). Using the assumption that those who had sent each other a message were aquaintances, it was found that the average number of steps to link all the users was around 6.6. Whether you believe the study rings true for the global population as a whole is up to you.