Thursday, April 10, 2008

Trickle down or ripple effect?

I started my morning with the following tweet:

"Trying to tap into a network of influencers is pointless: it's very hard to know who really has influence and who's just got a big mouth."

That pearl of wisdom comes from Suw Charman in her blog post on Strange Attractor. Like Suw, I've always questioned the idea that if you reach some "key" people in any organization (blogs, podcasts, companies, schools, meetup-aholics) then it will trickle down to the unwashed masses below. That smacks of Reaganomics to me -- been there, done that.

Granted, there is a huge "follower" mentality and echo-chamber effect for some of those groups (you know the ones), but most people won't truly adopt something and incorporate it into their life unless it speaks to them and is useful -- to them. Not just because Brogan (and I loves me some Brogan) said it was cool. It actually has to BE cool and be something that I need to be cool to me.

But I like the ripple effect. It's how I learned about podcasting, Word Press, Twitter... you name it. Sure, I hear about lots of cool stuff from the Top Brass and I've been known to adopt early. But most people aren't watching as closely as I and a handful of others. Let's hear it for the ripple effect.

Props to Thomas for the link!


  1. Trickle down is dead. When I began in the workforce, if the boss got up and told you to do something, you just did it. Now, if that happens, you would just look at each other and say, "Who's this guy think he is?" The phrase, "I sign your checks", won't answer it and doesn't cut it anymore. People want what they do to be relevant to their passions.

  2. Funny, I had "heard" of podcasts when I heard that iTunes was supporting them, but didn't adopt them till Rush Limbaugh started doing it on his radio show. That got me into iTunes and found out other podcasts, which led me to This Week in Tech which lead me to Twitter.

    I'm not sure if I'm even "aware" of Wordpress now. I understand it to be blogging software that you can install on your website, but I guess I've not explored it anymore.

    Anyway, back to your point, I would agree with you that you can't force an "uncool" product onto influence leaders and then have that forced onto the masses, for example, newspaper/tv journalists could be regarded as influential people, and lots of time is devoted to telling us about new cool products, and our houses aren't yet filled with them.

    But a "cool" product/service like twitter got around to my family members through me getting my brother on board, and he apparently got my mom on just last night. Assuming you count me as "influential".


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