Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Challenging the Tipping Point

Great article in Fast Company about Columbia sociologist Duncan Watts and his research that challenges a key assertion in Malcolm Gladwell's book - The Tipping Point. Watts studies social networks. He has done a number of studies, using computer simulations, to examine Gladwell's assertion that a small group of influential and connected people tend to trigger social trends. He concludes from his work that these influencers don't have nearly as much influence as Gladwell believes. It's a fascinating debate about how social trends emerge, and not surprisingly, many marketers are deeply skeptical about Watts' research findings.

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