Networking and the Small World Problem

Discover how networking can make the world small and open unexpected doors to personal and professional success.

Raquel Medeiros


Raquel Medeiros


May 7, 2021

The importance of good networking to get new contacts.

In an increasingly interconnected world, human relationships play a key role in our personal and professional journey.

We've all heard about the importance of networking, but have you ever stopped to think about the real impact your connections can have on your life?

Welcome to this blog where we will explore the fascinating world of Networking and the Small World Problem.

Networking, at its core, involves the art of building, maintaining, and nurturing relationships. But in practice it is noticeable that it goes far beyond that.

It's the invisible web of connections that shapes our destiny, brings us unexpected opportunities and connects us with people who, at first glance, may seem far away.

And this is where the intriguing Small World Problem comes in.

From a psychology study, the theory "The Small World Problem" emerged. She points out that we are all connected if we know how to point out the 6 key people with whom we have friendship ties in common.

In a nutshell, it only takes 6 connections for 2 people from any corner of the world to be connected.

And in terms of networking, knowing how to put this theory into practice has many benefits.

In an increasingly interconnected world, networking is more important than ever. But with so many people and so many connections, it can be difficult to stand out and make your voice heard.

This is where the "Small World Problem", otherwise known as the "six degrees of separation" phenomenon, comes in. This problem argues that everyone on Earth is connected to everyone else by just six degrees of separation. In other words, we are all just six steps away from anyone else in the world.

By understanding the "Small World Problem", you can learn how to network more effectively and reach the people you need to connect with. Here's what you need to know about networking and the "Small World Problem."

Read on to learn how this theory works in conjunction with networking.

Building Personal and Professional Connections

Networking is a valuable and essential skill in today's world, both for personal life and professional success. It's much more than just exchanging business cards or adding contacts on social media. It is about building genuine and meaningful relationships with others, with the aim of sharing knowledge, opportunities and experiences.

In this blogpost, we'll explore what networking is, how connections are built, and the benefits both personally and professionally.

Definition of Networking

Networking, at its core, is the practice of establishing and maintaining connections with other people. These connections can be co-workers, friends, acquaintances or even strangers who share common interests, goals or areas of expertise. Through networking, people seek to build relationships that can be mutually beneficial.

How Connections Are Built

Professional Events and Gatherings: Attending industry conferences, workshops, trade shows, and events is an effective way to meet people who share your interests and professional goals. In these environments, it is possible to start conversations, exchange ideas and eventually establish valuable connections.

Social Networking: Social networking platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter provide opportunities to connect with professionals around the world. It is important to use these platforms strategically, sharing relevant information and participating in groups and communities related to your area of expertise.

Friends and Acquaintances: Often your most valuable connections can come from friends and acquaintances. Asking them to introduce you to people who might be helpful in their network is an effective way to expand your connections.

Benefits of Personal and Professional Networking

Career Opportunities: A solid network can be an invaluable source of career opportunities. From gathering information about job openings to identifying potential clients or business partners, networking can open doors that might otherwise remain closed.

Learning and Growing: By interacting with people from different backgrounds and experiences, you have the opportunity to learn from their stories and knowledge. This can enrich your perspective and help you grow both personally and professionally.

Support and Mentoring: Networking can provide access to mentors and advisors who can guide you on your journey. They can offer insights, share lessons learned, and help you avoid common mistakes.

Friendships and Emotional Support: Networking is not just about professional benefits. You will often also build meaningful personal relationships that can offer emotional and social support during difficult times.

Connected world

Solving the "Small World Problem"

The "Small World Problem" is a theory that claims that anyone on the planet is connected to anyone else through a network of acquaintances, with no more than six degrees of separation. In other words, you can reach anyone in the world through a chain of relationships of just six people.

This theory, which combines mathematics and sociology, challenges our perception of geographic boundaries and the vastness of the world.

The origin of the "Small World Problem" dates back centuries, but it gained prominence in popular culture thanks to the English playwright William Shakespeare, who, in his play "As You Like It" (1592), first stated the underlying principle. Since then, scholars and social scientists have become increasingly interested in this intriguing phenomenon.

The "Six Degrees of Separation" Experiment

To illustrate the "Small World Problem", a famous experiment known as "Six Degrees of Separation" was conducted by Stanley Milgram in the 1960s. In it, participants were given envelopes containing information about a specific target, such as a doctor in Boston. Their task was to get the envelope into the hands of the final recipient, but there was a caveat: they could only send the envelope to someone they knew personally.

The results surprised everyone. On average, envelopes reached the addressee in just six steps, with a chain of intermediary acquaintances. This demonstrated that, even in an age before social media and digital connectivity, people were closer to each other than they realized.

Examples of Unexpected Encounters and Surprising Connections

The "Small World Problem" is not just an abstract theory; it manifests itself in real life with unexpected encounters and connections that defy the odds. Here are some inspiring examples:

The Cosmic Encounter : In 2006, a man named Scott Jones from Australia took a picture of himself at a festival in England. Years later, when viewing the photos, he noticed a surprising detail: a stranger grimacing in the background. That stranger was Matthew Wheeler, who not only was in the same photo, but became Scott's friend and later roommate in Australia.

The Musical Connection: In 2014, American musician Mike Posner released a song called "I Took a Pill in Ibiza". The song became famous, and he received a message on Twitter from an unknown named Avicii, who praised the song. Later, Avicii remixed the track, and they collaborated on other musical projects.

Two Crossing Worlds: In 1971, former US President Richard Nixon visited China on a historic diplomatic mission. During the visit, a photojournalist captured an iconic image of Nixon greeting a Chinese crowd. Years later, a man named Ben Chesson saw this photo and realized that his father was in the picture, shaking hands with Nixon.

These examples illustrate how surprising connections can happen when we least expect it, thanks to the "Small World Problem".

Networking in the Digital World

Networking has always played a crucial role in professional success, and that hasn't changed in the digital world. In fact, online networking opportunities have become even more important. Here are some ways networking influences professional success:

Job and Career Opportunities: Many job openings and career opportunities are shared on professional networks such as LinkedIn. Having a strong network of online contacts can open doors to jobs and promotions you might not otherwise find.

Access to Knowledge and Mentorship: Digital networking allows you to connect with experienced people in your field. These connections can offer valuable insights, guidance and mentorships that contribute to your professional growth.

Collaboration and Business Partnerships: Through online networking, it is possible to find business partners, co-founders and collaborators for joint projects. These partnerships can lead to successful ventures and expand your business opportunities.

Strategies for Creating and Maintaining Professional Connections in the Digital World

Now that we understand the importance of networking in the digital world, let's explore some effective strategies for building and maintaining valuable professional connections:

Start with creating an attractive profile on networking platforms such as LinkedIn. Use a professional photo, write a concise description, highlight your relevant skills and experience.

Join groups and communities related to your industry. Participate in discussions, share knowledge and make connections with members who share your interests.

Don't wait for connections to come to you. Send personalized invites to people you admire or want to connect with. Express your genuine interest in establishing a professional relationship.

Networking is not just about making contacts; it's about nurturing relationships. Stay in regular contact with your connections, share relevant content, and be there to help when needed.

Attend webinars, conferences and online events related to your field. These platforms offer ideal opportunities to meet new people and expand your network.

Examples of Success Stories Attributed to Online Networking

Here are some inspiring examples of individuals and companies that have achieved success thanks to networking in the digital world:

  • Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn): Former LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has built his career around networking. His leadership and vision helped transform LinkedIn into one of the largest professional networks in the world.
  • Airbnb: Room-sharing company Airbnb grew rapidly due to its strong online networking. The platform connected travelers and hosts from around the world, creating a global community.
  • Bloggers and Digital Influencers: Many bloggers and influencers have built successful careers thanks to their social networks. They collaborate with brands, expand their audience and generate revenue through online partnerships.
professional networking

Professional Networking

Networking is an essential skill for professional success. Here are some ways he influences his career:

Many job opportunities are not publicly advertised. They are filled out through referrals and recommendations from professional contacts. Having a solid network can open doors to jobs you weren't even aware of.

By building a network of contacts, you gain access to a variety of experiences and expertise. These connections can provide you with valuable insights and guidance, accelerating your professional development.

By interacting with professionals in your field, you can learn new skills and techniques. Also, feedback and the exchange of ideas can improve your existing skills.

Networking can lead to fruitful business collaborations and partnerships. This can boost your venture or project and expand your opportunities for growth.

Strategies for Creating and Maintaining Professional Connections

Building and maintaining professional connections requires strategy and commitment. Here are some tips to help you succeed in networking:

Be genuine in your interactions. People are more likely to connect with someone who is authentic and trustworthy.

Attend conferences, workshops, and interest groups related to your field. These events are great opportunities to meet people with common interests.

Be active on platforms like LinkedIn, sharing relevant content, participating in discussions and connecting with professionals in your field.

Don't just make connections; keep growing them. Send follow-up messages, share updates, and offer help when you can.

When building relationships, be willing to help others before asking for help. This builds trust and reciprocity.

Examples of Success Stories Attributed to Networking

  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak : The partnership between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, co-founders of Apple, began through a connection in a computer club. This initial networking resulted in the creation of one of the most innovative companies in the world.
  • Oprah Winfrey : Host and businesswoman Oprah Winfrey has built a vast network of contacts throughout her career. These connections played a key role in his journey to success, including the creation of the OWN television network.
  • Elon Musk: Entrepreneur Elon Musk is known for his extensive network of contacts, which helped him boost revolutionary projects such as SpaceX and Tesla. Their connections played a crucial role in securing funding and support for their companies.

Personal Networking

Personal networking refers to building and maintaining relationships outside the professional environment. It plays several important roles in our lives:

  • Emotional Support: A network of friends and family can provide emotional support during difficult times. Having someone to lean on during personal challenges is invaluable.
  • Social Enrichment: Personal networking enriches our social lives by providing opportunities for recreational activities, social events, and meaningful encounters.
  • Access to Resources: Our personal network often includes people with a variety of skills and knowledge. This gives us access to valuable resources such as advice, practical assistance and guidance.
  • Sense of Community: Being part of a social network gives us a sense of community and belonging. This can improve our quality of life and emotional well-being.

How Networking Can Enrich Our Social Experience

By meeting new people through mutual friends, social events or interest groups, you broaden your social circle and have the opportunity to meet people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds.

Personal networking allows you to share your own experiences and hear other people's stories. This can lead to deeper and more enriching connections.

Finding people with common interests is a natural way to strengthen personal connections. Joining groups or activities related to your hobbies is a great way to do this.

Using networking techniques to make new contacts

Overcoming Challenges in Networking

Networking is a valuable skill, but it's not always easy. Many of us face common obstacles in the process of building professional and personal relationships. In this blog, we'll discuss these challenges, explore strategies for overcoming them, and share tips for building resilience in the face of rejection.

Common Obstacles in Networking

Shyness and Social Anxiety: Many people face shyness or anxiety when connecting with new people. This can make it difficult to approach strangers or participate in social events.

Fear of Rejection: The fear of being rejected is a common networking challenge. Worrying about what others will think of us can keep us from initiating conversations or making requests.

Lack of Social Skills: Some people may feel insecure about their social skills, which prevents them from making meaningful connections.

How to Overcome Shyness and Fear of Connecting with New People

Preparation: Prepare for networking events by doing some research in advance about attendees and conversation topics. Having matters in mind can help alleviate anxiety.

Practice: Practice is key. Start with small social interactions and gradually challenge yourself to bigger events. The more you practice, the more confident you will become.

Change the Mindset: Instead of worrying about what others think of you, focus on how you can add value to relationships. This helps to reduce the fear of rejection.

Ethical and Sustainable Networking

Networking is a valuable tool for personal and professional growth, but it is essential to approach it ethically and with integrity. The practice of ethical and sustainable networking involves building genuine relationships, avoiding manipulative and self-serving practices. In this blog, we'll explore the importance of ethics in networking and share tips on how to build sustainable and genuine relationships.

The Importance of Ethics in Networking

Ethical networking is critical to establishing a positive and lasting reputation. Here are some reasons why networking ethics are crucial:

  • Credibility and Trust: Ethical practices build credibility and trust. People are more inclined to collaborate and connect with someone who demonstrates integrity.
  • Long-Term Relationships: Networking is not just about short-term transactions; it's about building long-term relationships. Ethics are the basis for sustainable relationships.
  • Positive Reputation: Reputation is valuable in the networking world. Ethical people are viewed more favorably, which can lead to professional and personal opportunities.

Avoiding Manipulative or Interesting Practices

  • Be Authentic: Be yourself in networking interactions. Don't pretend to be someone you're not, as this can lead to superficial and unsustainable relationships.
  • Focus on Relationships, Not Transactions: Don't approach relationships with a "what can I get" mentality. Instead, focus on how you can contribute and help others.
  • Not Exploiting Relationships: Avoid taking advantage of other people's connections. Don't ask for favors without considering the value you're adding to the relationship.

Building Sustainable and Genuine Relationships

  • Careful Listening: Careful listening is critical to building genuine relationships. Be present in conversations and show a real interest in others.
  • Offer Help: Be willing to help when you can. Volunteer your time, expertise or resources to support your connections.
  • Keep in Touch: Don't let relationships slip away from lack of contact. Keep in touch regularly, even if just to check in on them.


In this blogpost, we explore the fascinating concept of the "Small World Problem" and how it relates to networking. We've discovered that in an increasingly interconnected world, we're just a few connections away from anyone on the planet. This highlights the importance of building and maintaining strong personal and professional networks.

We reinforce that networking is not just about accumulating contacts or obtaining favors, but about building genuine relationships based on ethics and trust. Ethical and sustainable networking is key to creating meaningful connections that can enrich our personal and professional lives.

Our human connections are precious and can open doors to unexpected opportunities. Therefore, we encourage you to start strengthening your networks today. Attend events, connect with people in your field, be proactive in offering help, and be open to new friendships and collaborations.

In a small world, connections are the most valuable currency. By investing in your networking, you are investing in a future full of possibilities and surprising encounters. So go ahead, build your connections and discover just how rich and interconnected our world truly is.

follow the ClickCard blogpost to learn more about networking or other subjects, such as the application for creating a digital business card, NFC card as a contact sharing feature, and among others.

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