"Buzz-Kill: Columbia Prof Blasts Influencer ModelWim sends along a link to the original paper this article is based on.
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." ... '
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: