"Technology has outpaced our physical ability to manage the social network. Duncan Watts, author of this year's book ''Six Degrees,'' has wondered whether our primitive ancestry gives us a hard-wired tendency to attend to only our immediate associates, like family and friends. Our online persona may be rich with friends and contacts; it may make us feel popular and deeply valued as we trade tips about the best Australian Shiraz or converse about the best way to get to Burning Man. But our offline persona still gets stuck in traffic on the way to the liquor store. Our online persona may manage a Web-based cocktail party of three degrees -- a party that would include our friends, the friends of our friends and the friends of our friends' friends. But our offline persona, juggling the demands of family and work, can barely return the telephone calls from the first degree."