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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 10, 1998)
■ The company is feeding
off the nationwide “six
degrees of separation” trad.
NEW YORK (AP) - Hie idea that
everyone is.connected within “six
degrees of separation” has become
familiar, carrying with it die tantaliz
ing idea of one world, mankind as one
It has been the theme of a play
and a movie and the gimmick of a
parlor game. And now a company is
working to prove ith a small World
Wide Web after all, too.
Sixdegrees.com runs a Web site
devoted to networking everyone, and
The way it works is a person reg
isters at the site and lists up to 10
friends. Those friends are supposed
to join and list 10 friends each of their
own, and so on. It can be used for
apartment searches, job hunts, quests
for medical specialists or lawyers,
even finding old high school chums.
In short, anyone who has asked a
friend, “Hey, do you know someone
who... ” will understand the concept
sixdegrees.com. “These are the peo
ple I care to interact with," he said.
“These are also the people who I care
about what they think about the pres
Other Web communities are often
organized around common interests:
Get all the golfers together and let
them talk about golf. Same for neuro
surgeons or beekeepers. Instead of
communities defined by what is
being talked about, sixdegrees.com
instead defines community by who is
doing the talking.
“There’s very much a social
aspect to it," said Quinn Heraty, a law
student and legal assistant at Lehman
Brothers investment bank. “Other
friends have said if they travel they
would contact people in the area and
Heraty has been a member since
July 1998. Besides networking,
sixdegrees.com gives her a continu
ously updated contact list of friends’
This is the use favored by Witold
Riedel, 28, a freelance graphic
designer in New York.
He adds to the database any
friend he thinks might disappear
from his life, and says he has used die
service to help friends locate apart
ments and even find wallpaper pat
Still, others aren’t sold on the ser
Some, like David Cantrell, a soft
ware developer in London, say they
don’t need sixdegrees.com.
“I'd rather keep my list of
ners private,” Cantrell said. “I find
real face-to-face networking over a
beer to be perfectiy effective”
Privacy was mentioned by several
sixdegrees.com members as a con
cetti, although Nicole Berlyn, direc
tor of marketing and advertising, said
formerly limited to the mends of
friends - two degrees of separation -
users will now be able to find links
between every other member,
whether that link is three, 12 or 64
degrees of separation.
Andrew Weinreich, CEO of
sixdegrees.com, started the company
in January 1997 with a small ceremo
ny in which he listed five employees
and two other people in his initial set
of contacts. Today, there are more
than 1 million members all leading
back in some way to Weinreich and
his seven initial contacts. And the
database is growing by 10,000 and
12,000 names a day, he said.
Such a “personal virtual commu
nity,” as Weinreich calls his fust few
members, is . the key to
[—■ ■■ ■ i . —— .- ___i___
PACKAGES CAN BE SPLIT BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE
OFFER ENDS SEPTEMBER 30. I 998~
risers general demographic data.
“We don’t rent, sell, give or show
individuals’ data,” she said.
Some people invited to join
refused, saying they were wary of
receiving unsolicited bulk e-mail -
known as “spam.” Others suspected
they were being made part of a mar
keting scheme, or were simply unin
terested in being contacted by the
friend of their tousin’s dentist
Weinreich is convinced, however,
that if he provides the Web site, peo
ple will use it
Art Bushkin is the president of
Pace Financial Network, a Vienna,
Va.-based company putting financial
services on the Web. He was invited
to join by Robert Lessin, now the
chairman of Wit Capital. He said he
initially felt flattered to be asked to
join by someone he didn't know well.
He tried it out and signed up.
“I had agreed to participate in an
online form of networking that I
would have probably found embar
rassing had I been at a cocktail party,”
he said “It was an interesting way for
us to connect that wouldn’t have hap
pened in any other medium.’’
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