Three Degrees of the SharePoint Community Challenge

1x1 Six Degrees of Separation.” It was one of those catch phrases of the last 20 years. There are 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon, and those in Hollywood where you can connect him to any actress based on his work. Now the challenge I propose to you is to see if you can find someone active in the SharePoint Community anywhere in the world that is more than 3 degrees from me. In addition, going into a new community, find the leader and you’ll find the connection to the rest of the community. We are all about 3 degrees of separation and in many cases there is no separation, we are at 2! These degrees can much more easily be validated with the common social networking tools of Facebook, Twitter and Linked in, and we’ll limit the scope to validating the degrees with those social tools. As well, we’re talking about people who are not averse to being connected and are active in their community. This shrinking world is fascinating. Social networking and how we define a friend are really changing this game of how we are connected. You can read more about this shift in facebook heading from 6 to 3.

SharePoint Community Challenge

Joel Oleson


Not only is the SharePoint community getting closer as many of us connect online through social networks and in global travel to more local events, analytics based on facebook data is showing the world is getting more connected, and 6 degrees from those online is actually overestimated. “While 99.6 percent of all pairs of users are connected by paths with 5 degrees (6 hops),” Backstrom wrote on a Facebook blog, “92 percent are connected by only four degrees (5 hops). And as Facebook has grown over the years, representing an ever larger fraction of the global population, it has become steadily more connected. The average distance in 2008 was 5.28 hops, while now it is 4.74.”

As an example, when I went to Manila for the first time, I sat down with the experts in the community and we had them each pull up facebook and provide their names. One by one we went through the list and it was incredible how we had connections through MVP leads in China and Singapore and SharePoint User group connections with Microsoft with as many as 11 connections to their SharePoint Microsoft Technical Account Manager or local Office Productivity Product Management lead. So in the Philippines the SharePoint community is now very well connected with 2 degrees in many cases to the leadership, but even prior to our arrival the group was well connected with 3 degrees.

Three degrees isn’t just something cool and mean we’re small. It means better access to information. When a CU has a serious regression, just posting a blog is sometimes not enough. It’s about sharing and disseminating this information through our networks to the communities around the globe. I personally have had a personal goal to be the best connected SharePoint guy for quite some time. Some would scoff and say I’m addicted to facebook, twitter and social networks, but personally it’s more about making friends and real connections all over the world. I’ve travelled to over 100 countries in my quest to connect the SharePoint community and build a more cohesive community where we can openly share information with each other. Compare this map of where I’ve been, to the map further below of where my friends are.

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Joel Oleson was a speaker at the European SharePoint Conference 2011. Why not keep up to date with Joel’s amazing work by joining our community or by following us on twitter or facebook!

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