CYP CLUB Articles & Current News
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
Written by Ryan Conway, CYP CLUB Networking Director
There's no place on the planet more reliant on the power of networking than Hollywood. Who you know is typically much more important than what you can do. One particular actor has long been widely known for being at the center of the Hollywood universe, his connections from one actor to another is so profound and documented that it has inspired a connect-the-dots style game of finding the quickest paths to separating him to everyone in his sphere of influence. This fine actor is Kevin Bacon.
Kevin Bacon is said to be within six degrees of separation to any other celebrity actor using only feature films. Don't believe me? Check out oracleofbacon.org and try to find a celebrity that is outside of Kevin's reach (don't even try using the Biebs, they're only 2 degrees apart). While Kevin Bacon may not be the man to connect you to your next customer, business partner or a potential employer, his reach is a great example of how one person can be at the center of a network.
Presently Kevin Bacon is linkable to over 1.5M other actors, and as of 2012, he has acted in 65 movies. Unless every film he's been in has employed roughly 23,076 different actors each, Kevin needs a little help to reach everyone. According to the Oracle of Bacon, there are 2,573 actors that have worked alongside Kevin in a feature film, and therefore have a single degree of separation. These 2,573 actors help link Kevin to his 2nd degree connections - about 285,559 other actors. Kevin obviously couldn't have such a large network if it wasn’t for being connected to some other highly connected people.
So how do you become the Kevin Bacon of your network?
Harness Your Inner Kevin Bacon
Being the center means being the go-to person. The best way to be connecting to the opportunity you're after through networking is by being the first person that people think of. Networking contacts may not be looking for you, but they may be looking for people know. Make the connection. You'll start to become the "Go-To Person" when people are looking for connections. This helps to keep every new contact just a degree away from you, meaning you will stay in the forefront of their mind so when they do come across that perfect opportunity for you, you won't be too far away.
Connect with the Connectors
The fastest way to expand your sphere of influence is to make connections with the people that already have large networks. This may not make you the center of the universe, just one of their secondary connections, but it's a great way to reach more people. The "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" is only made possible by having an exponential number of connections made by connecting to the connectors. Cultivate these relationships, connect them and they'll connect you.
Don't snub those with little networks
There are about 27 actors who are within 8 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Any one of those people would be infinitely unlinkable without the help of his 211 seventh-degree connections. Connect with everyone, spread your influence, and you never who might be that person off in the distance that is the link to the connection you're looking for.
The opportunity to start connecting your own six degrees of separation and harnessing your inner Kevin Bacon isn't too far away. The CYP CLUB offers plenty of great opportunities to network with other young professionals in the Columbus area, such as the Coffee Talk Networking Series which will be at the Cafe on Long on October 2nd or Speed Networking with Non-Profits on October 23rd at Franklin University. Check out www.cypclub.com/events for more information about these and other CYP CLUB events.
The author is a realtor with Keller Williams and the Networking Director for the CYP CLUB. He also thinks that the Coffee Talk Networking series has an awesome host.