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A very creepy application of weak ties, diffusion of innovation,
> Who are they? Check out the word-of-mouth industry's favorite graph.
> The graph is meant to show the pattern by which ideas or products or
> behaviors are adopted, and it looks like a hill: on the left are the
> early adopters; then the trend-spreaders; the mainstream population is
> the big bulge in the middle; then come the laggards, represented by
> the right-hand slope. This is not new stuff -- Knox himself cites
> research from the 1930's, as well as the 1962 academic book
> ''Diffusion of Innovation,'' by Everett Rogers -- but it has become
> extremely popular over the past five years or so. Seth Godin, who
> wrote ''Permission Marketing,'' ''Unleashing the Ideavirus'' and other
> popular marketing books (and whose ideas partly inspired BzzAgent),
> uses it, as do dozens of other marketing experts. Malcolm Gladwell's
> ''Tipping Point'' made an argument about these ideas that was
> simultaneously more textured and easier to digest than most of what
> had come before (or since), and it became a best seller. But whatever
> the intentions and caveats of the various approaches to the subject,
> the most typical response to the graph is to zero in on the segment
> that forms the bridge over which certain ideas or products travel into
> the mainstream -- influentials, trend-translators, connectors, alphas,
> hubs, sneezers, bees, etc. Let's just call them Magic People.
> Knox said that Tremor's approach to finding the Magic People is
> intensively researched. The company tries to isolate the psychological
> characteristics of the subset of influential teenagers, and has
> developed a screening process to identify them. The details of this
> are a secret, but as an example, Knox noted that most teenagers have
> 25 or 30 names on their instant-messaging ''buddy list,'' whereas a
> Tremor member might have 150. Tremor recruits volunteers mostly
> through online advertisements and accepts only 10 or 15 percent of
> those who apply. The important thing, Knox said, is they are the right
> kind of kids -- the connected, influential trend-spreading kind.
What would they do if they got a hold of the *5th edition* of Rogers'
Sunday NY Times Magazine...
Long article, but worth reading.
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