This story has in fact come to me via a number of sources. So thank you all you kind hearted souls. :-)
I am sure many have read the above post.
The premise according to Duncan Watts – Six Degrees is that Malcolm Gladwell is wrong in his theory in his the Tipping Point about influentials, virality and epidemics that can influence commercial communications.
The article seems to trounce the idea and the philosophy.
Why did people send me this article? Well of course we are interested in social networks, engagement, technology etc., and the implications of such insights.
The simplistic focus on one aspect of something very complex is perhaps a little worrying.
My simple view is that if you read Henry Jenkins Convergence Culture, or the Network Society written by Manuel Castells and another separate book by Jan van Dijk and many others there is a level of complexity here which is unprecendented. In my post 6 feet of junk mail or a 29% response rate? Blyk shows the way
I referenced some ideas on recounting audiences and how one does that.
Commercial success in the world of networks is not about viral marketing however how many algorithms' one decides to throw at the problem.
As Watts says diseases spread in so many different ways.
I think Gladwell is a fantastic thinker, he forces us to reconsider our own worldview - and I suggest that anyone that can do that is doing a good job. We have discussed social marketing intelligence on this Blog quite a few times and it is here that I think black gold will be made in taking massive and multiple refined data flows and applying those to a targeted audience in a variety of different ways.
The other issue that is not mentioned is currency - what is the "value=currency" of the communication?
Companies are so brainwashed by what advertising is that they cannot think round new ways of creating advertising, how to enhance and increase its currency to the recipient - whereby it becomes information that can be timely, relevant and contextual.
Is the the Tipping Point Toast - in my view it never really got under the grill.
My suggestion would have been to cut the lengthy article by 2 thirds and use that space to explore in a richer way what the real opportunities are.
We are rapidly moving to a world by 2015 five billion people will be connected - that is a 100 fold increase in networked traffic. Networks: Economic, Cultural and Media are becoming the nervous system of society.
This suggests that our world of media and communications is evolving from the straight road of an industrial era to the more complex and networked world that mimics nature. Our new media world isn't about content and distribution. It is about people, connections and social networks.
If we accept that as a truth then that truth changes what we make, how we make it and how in fact we market and communicate with our customers. It requires a new logic
This is the wealth of networks. The author at Fast Company alludes that actually Mass Marketing still works. Sure. Just go and ask AG Laffley of Jim Stengel at P&G.
Because Prime Time is no longer a time of day, it is in fact a state of mind where time and space no longer matter
Remember there are 3 times as many mobile phones in the world as TV sets or computers - the digital universe is not the same as our old familiar analogue one. The mobile is a bigger media platform than TV. So what is Madison Avenue doing on that score? Doh.
And research has also showed that time spent on the internet has overtaken time spent watching TV. Madison Avenue and the whole Love Marks DooDahh (Sorry I can't even bring my self to hyperlink.) Premised around mass market communications is a poor effort, dare I say pathetic.
In his book Convergence Culture - Professor Henry Jenkins of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT articulates a world in which young people have a very different relationship with media consumption. This is the migration from consumption as an individual practice to consumption as a networked practice - which I might add is voluntary.
Culture Jenkins argues is today Participatory. We create, we share, we collaborate, we consume, we discuss
When people consume and produce media together, when they pool their insights and information, mobilise to promote common interests, and function as grassroots intermediaries – rather than talking about personal media, perhaps we should be talking about communal media or social commerce that becomes part of our lives as members of communities, whether experienced face-to-face at the most local level or over the Net.
If we accept Jenkins above world view, this has profound implications on how we reach out and attract our customers, talk to our suppliers and how we create value. It was Jonathan Schwartz that said our 1000 bloggers at Sun have done more for this company than a $1bn ad campaign could have ever done. This is participatory culture at the coalface. Or we could reference wikipedia, World of Warcraft, Pop Idol, the Matrix, citizen journalism or social commerce platforms like ebay, MyNuMo or Spreadshirt.
Change the way you count, for instance, and you can change where advertising dollars go. In a world where we leave digital footprints Where certain companies can unpick 54 billion data points to develop social network intelligence and apply that commercially – where we can count every individual - and therefore recount the audience to a degree of accuracy never before thought possible this is called Social Marketing Intelligence.
For over 150 years the main organs of industrialization, mass consumption and mass media have breathed and operated in relative harmony together. Today, digitalisation is “deconstructing” traditional industries while at the same time creating new commercial opportunities, and, what is emerging is the grass roots of a new networked socio-economic ecology. Yet what we have witnessed so far is only the beginning of a more structural shift in the very foundations of how business and our societies will now evolve.
A key development is the emergence of digitally connected communities coupled with the fact that we are a “We Species”. Human beings have an innate need to; connect, communicate and collaborate. Digitalization has revealed the true nature of humans, and, that truth changes everything. Communities form around values, interests and desires, not demographics in the traditional sense of the word. Culture is created by the interaction between human beings.
Is it any wonder then that after 150 years of industrialization and media control, we are using technology to: tell our stories, to co-create experiences, to harness collective intelligence, share knowledge and information, co-create commerce and become part of the socio-economic fabric of the world we live in. We are renewing the bonds that once held our geographic communities together via the digital universe.
In the world of We Media, we have to think and act differently as businesses and organizations to succeed.
This changes essentially everything. It changes the way customers can access information and changes the way they use it. It changes the way business can communicate with their customers and it also changes how a business might go to market. It changes the linking between channels, that link businesses, customers, suppliers and employees. It offers opportunity and it offers your once helpless competitors the chance to radically rethink their business strategies and attack vital parts of your business model.
It was Darwin that said “Its not the strongest, or the most intelligent that survive, but those that are most adapted to change”. And so we have to ask the following questions
1. How do audiences behave and how should companies be prepared for that?
2. How do communities work and what is the impact of communities on businesses?
3. How do consumers consume information?
4. What is happening in the on-line world and what are the opportunities for businesses?
So I thank my concerned friends for sending me the article. I hope that I have perhaps enabled them to reframe their worldview, and also help them understand that The Tipping Point is just the tip of the iceberg.
My treatise is how we start to frame what we do to how we create customer value in the digital world.