Can social media be that instigator?
Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference quickly rose through the charts following its release ten years ago. Publishing Weekly calls the book, "Fascinating enough for the general reader, Gladwell's work is a particular boon for business people looking for inspiration on how to tip their own ideas into popular crazes."
This type of acclaim and popular success probably came to no surprise to Gladwell as his book outlined how various products or ideas can spread like an epidemic just as easily as the flu will spread over the holidays. He accredited three rules to the spread of social epidemics - 'The Law of the Few,' 'The Stickiness Factor,' and 'The Power of Context' drawing on Paul Revere's infamous midnight ride, the popularity of Blues Clues, and the decrease in crime in New York City as key studies of each of these factors. After ten years, does The Tipping Point still hold relevance? Or has the Internet, which successfully consumed the decade as its own epidemic, proven the tipping point may fall short of explaining social epidemics.
While the medium of the message has changed, it is apparent that the principles of 'word-of-mouth' have not changed. Fundamentally, Connectors are actively bringing the world together, which has become even easier through a world made much smaller through the Internet and social media. Mavens now have more access than ever to find the information that they so successfully pass on to others. And Salesmen are as charismatic as ever, reaching into our lives through not only radio and television but also through email, blogs, and social media alike. Messages can find stickiness, especially with research and intent. And now, social media has expanded the context of messages. Social media has effectively made The Tipping Point out of date, as the unexpected phenomenon of social media has change the playing field; yet the fundamental rules and theory can easily find its way on to the court. And mastering these rules will lead to success in any profession.