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Digital Savant

Posted: 5:29 p.m. Saturday, March 8, 2014

SXSW Panel: "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon: A Social Phenomenon Turns 20" 

SXSW Day Two, 03.08.14
Kevin Bacon speaks at SXSW 2014.

Time/Date: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Panelists: Actor/director/producer Kevin Bacon and Brian Turtle, co-creator of "The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"

The gist: Bacon and Turtle talked about the 20-year history of "The Six Degrees" phenomenon, which was started by Turtle and two friends in 1994 in a college dorm room. Bacon joked that he initially thought the idea would go the way "of pogo sticks and pet rocks."

"I thought it was this giant joke at my expense," he told the audience.

These days, "The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" is known worldwide -- you can even use Google to determine your "Bacon number." Bacon said he has since embraced the concept and even played off of it when he launched his website,, which builds on the popularity of the “small world phenomenon” to create a charitable social network and to inspire giving to charities online."

He added that he also uses the "Six Degrees" concept while on set for his hit show, "The Following."

"On 'The Following,' we have a lot of actors who cycle their way through the show," Bacon said. "I'll check my callsheet on my way into work and then check their Bacon number so I can walk up and say, 'Good to see you,' or, 'Good to see you again.'"

Bacon, who was joined on stage by several guests including Maisie Williams of "Game of Thrones," repeatedly emphasized the concept of connectivity.

"I'm someone who really tries my best to stay connected to people and not live a life behind an iron gate," he  said. "Most of the time, I'm playing regular people, so I need to be around regular people to know how to play them."

Bacon also took a Vine video with the audience and proclaimed that audience members officially were one degree away from him.


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