Johnnie has a bit on the coverage of Duncan Watt’s ideas on Influencers vs. Influenceables… If you haven’t read it, you should… His view is that that ordinary people have just as much influence as influential people have in making something popular. Cory, Guy, Seth, Spike, and scores of others have all chimed in.
On The Media interviewed Clive Thompson who wrote the Fast Company article that compellingly explains Duncan Watts’ word-of-mouth randomness theory. In the radio interview (available online here), Clive summarizes Duncan’s complex theory this way,
“It’s not how influential each person is, it’s how influenceable everyone else is. If society is ready to embrace a trend, almost anyone can start it.”
It really got me thinking. I’m ready to hold Gladwell’s ideas and Watt’s in my head at the same time. I don’t think they are exclusive.
What I don’t agree with is that society is “ready” to embrace trends – especially commercial trends. That’s what marketers do. They prepare society for trends and then activate those trends… Kind of like Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm.
There are instances where society becomes ready to embrace a trend – like Green — and smart marketers figure out how to leverage that.