Ever hear of the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? For those not in the know, the game is based on the premise that any actor can be linked by film roles to the actor Kevin Bacon. If you want to know more, check out Wikipedia

I have a friend who is a killer at the game, and so I was instantly intrigued to learn that I am only three connections from Kevin Bacon in real life, at least according to LinkedIn. In short, I know at least five people who knows at least one person who has a LinkedIn connection to Kevin Bacon. Four of these people are widely known data center operators, builders, or developers. 

I decided to enlist Kevin's help in a social media experiment by email. You can view the results yourself. If my roster of LinkedIn connections suddenly includes an award-winning actor, well then, you will know that Kevin Bacon has become part of the data center industry in a small way. He's in Frost/Nixon and has four movies opening in 2009, so we do have a way to make him feel welcome.

I'm also trying to figure out what I can learn about social networking from three rejections I received when I began building my network. One of the three came from a freelance writer in the industry and two from public relations people, so I am more than a little surprised. Freelance writers and public relations people usually want to befriend editors, for obvious reasons.

I'm sharing these stories today so you can help me do my job better. I'm using this blog entry to try to stimulate discussions about how you use social networking media as a professional tool. What works and what doesn't? How should I be using social networking to bring information to light in a way that you can use?

Data Center Pulse, founded by Dean Nelson and Mark Thiele, may be the most powerful example of social networking in our industry. This LinkedIn group quickly grew to more than 500 members, spawned a second group, and gave rise to a live meeting to be held on February 17-18, just before Teladata's Technology Convergence show on February 19th. 

I'd also like to hear how the use of social networking may have hurt you. I'm considering interviewing the the three people who denied knowing me to see if they have had a bad experience. And I'll watch for negative results from the Kevin Bacon experiment. Perhaps I'm not as close to Kevin Bacon as I thought and just communicating with a phisher.Today's (Jan. 29) Wall Street Journal tells of fraudulent celebrity LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook accounts that are used to distribute viruses or other malware.