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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Duncan Watts Blasts Influencer Models

We met Watts some years ago at the Sante Fe Institute and tried to understand how his theories could link to marketing. From Wim Van de Velde, an interview:
"Buzz-Kill: Columbia Prof Blasts Influencer Model
NEW YORK -- Influencers. Connectors. Mavens. For years, it has been conventional wisdom that to create a buzz, you have to first target those archetypes to get your word out. The theory, outlined in Malcolm Gladwell's 2000 bestseller The Tipping Point, posits that a minority of the population, some say 15%, have an undue influence over the rest of us. Such influencers tend to have more friends than most and also have an urge to acquire social capital (i.e. exclusive information and products) before everybody else. Though Gladwell takes pains to point out that the gregarious people (connectors) need to link up with social currency hoarders (mavens), many lump the two together. Now, Duncan Watts, a Columbia University sociology professor, is charging that the whole theory of influencers is bunk and most of the time buzz is spread by networks and a "critical mass of easily influenced people each of whom adopts, say, a look or brand after being exposed to a single adopting neighbor." ... '
Wim sends along a link to the original paper this article is based on.

2 comments:

Scott Pearson said...

As I see it, Watts highlights some of the basic misunderstandings of influence most of which make sense I don't see it as completely anti. For a broader perspective you might find this new book an insightful read - www.influencerMarketingBook.com

Reza said...

Dear Friend,
A group of researchers at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, are investigating effects of Weblogs on “Social Capital”. Therefore, they have designed an online survey. By participating in this survey you will help researches in “Management Information Systems” and “Sociology”. You must be at least 18 years old to participate in this survey. It will take 5 to 12 minutes of your time.
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This group has already done another study on Weblogs effects on “Social Interactions” and “Trust”. To obtain a copy of the previous study brief report of findings you can email Reza Vaezi at reza.vaezi@yahoo.com.