From The EditorSix Degrees

Joshua Trupin

Have you ever felt a bit disconnected? Have you sat alone in your office, staring into the abyss, wondering if there’s intelligent life out there? Whether, in fact, there’s anyone out there at all? Maybe not—especially if your inbox is perpetually stuffed to the gills like mine is.

Nevertheless, I recently experienced those pangs and decided I needed to connect. I signed up for one of those business-centric social networking sites and started adding people—everyone I’ve ever worked with, acquired an article from, or spoken to at a conference. Within a week, I had 58 contacts on my list. Great!

But that was just the first level. At the second level—acquaintances of acquaintances—I had more than 3,500 friends. And since those 3,500 contacts each had contacts of their own, I zoomed to 277,000 third-degree contacts in no time. A quick calculation on the back of an Excel spreadsheet: assume an average of 50 contacts per person—and it turns out I know over 34 billion people as sixth-degree contacts. Move over, Kevin Bacon! I know more people than exist on Planet Earth. Suddenly the abyss was teeming.

This posed a new problem, however. How can I possibly handle all these relationships? I’m open to any and all suggestions. Are you using a social/business networking site now? How do you sort the people you want to talk to from the ones you want to avoid? Drop on by the TechNet Magazine blog and tell us your thoughts on this burning issue.

If this whole Web 2.0 networking thing isn’t your speed, fear not. This month’s issue of TechNet Magazine helps you improve your communications by making better use of Exchange Server. We have five articles that provide the knowledge you need to extend your organization’s messaging reach.

Using smart card authentication with Outlook Web Access is one of our featured topics this month. It’s always a good idea to require a form of physical authentication before granting access to your company’s resources, and smart cards make this possible from anywhere. We also look at disaster recovery with Exchange Server, how to replace public folders with SharePoint in Exchange Server 2007, and how to improve mobile security with Windows Mobile 6. And of course, we have Exchange Queue & A, which should be your favorite column if you’ve got anything to do with messaging. Oops, another three people just popped up on my network. I’d better go see if I should say hi or pretend I’m sleeping.

—Joshua Trupin

Thank you to the following Microsoft technical experts: Kristian Andaker, Chris Corio, Jim Harrison, Chad Jones, Michael Lee, Shawn McGrath, Michael Murgolo, Eric Perlin, Michelle Rutzer, Gavriella Schuster, and Jim Truher.

© 2008 Microsoft Corporation and CMP Media, LLC. All rights reserved; reproduction in part or in whole without permission is prohibited.