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The Tipping Point Review

A couple months ago I read a great book called Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug and have recently found another great read. This time the book was called The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference and is by Malcolm Gladwell. Here's a quick summary of the book: Gladwell touched on how different ideas, concepts or social trends can spread extremely fast, gain popularity overnight and make incredible impacts on the world. He also touches on how smaller ideas or concepts can snowball into something bigger, causing new major impacts on how a person functions throughout their day-to-day life personally, socially, mentally, physically and professionally.

To start off, I would just like to talk about two words that can be found throughout and on the book quite frequently... "tipping point." After reading Gladwell's book and taking away the many concepts he discussed, one thing that always stuck out to me in reference to a tipping point would be how social media impacts our everyday actions. A post, picture, comment, like, etc. can be viewed in such dramatic ways in turn which causes an epidemic so to say. Things go from a simple post that is practically just another piece of text or image circulating the internet to a viral post or trending topic the next day.

Throughout the book, Gladwell touches on three lessons or key points with regards to spreading your own ideas to others.

The first being... once an idea reaches "the tipping point," it spreads like fire. The tipping point is essentially the moment in which an idea becomes something everyone must have or know about. You can see this trend through pretty much anything in our country's history. When I read this I immediately thought about the instant craze the evolution of media has caused over the years. For example, when radios first came around, everyone wanted one in their household. It took the time families spent together around a dinner table or living room reading a newspaper to a whole new level. Back then, with the radio's introduction, family members could then gather around a radio, listen to stories, music and breaking updates. Then eventually the television came around and then that became the next big thing. Overnight, having a television set in your household was the must-do trend to get on board with. Now, of course, you can see this craze with people DYING to have the latest smartphones or technology even before they come out. One day you could have a brand new iPhone but if Apple releases a newer generation the next day, that iPhone is now old news in a sense and lost its tipping point moment because there was something else going through that phase.

The second lesson is... there are three kinds of people that are responsible for getting ideas into tips. Those three kinds of people include 1) connectors, those that have a larger network socially and professionally and help ideas spread from one social group to another, 2) salesmen, those who brag and boast about ideas they think are great and spread contagious positive energy about just about everything and 3) mavens, those who like to keep and hoard information to themselves as a tactic to have others ask them for tips and advice within their social network. With the help of a few key people such as those three types listed above, ideas will turn from something boring and lame to the next big thing.

The final lesson is... without stickiness, no idea will ever tip. Basically, if an idea is bad or poor, it'll never reach the ultimate status of something critical in our society. Gladwell describes this concept the stickiness factor or the measure in which something sticks in the minds of the individuals that come in contact with that idea. Companies worldwide have marketing and advertising teams dedicated to studying what things help make ideas and concepts stick so that way they can sell more products and get viewers to remember who they are and what they sell. An example Gladwell used in the book was Sesame Street. For the show to be effective, researchers studied what would captivate and educate their target audience, which is obviously toddlers and young children, while also keeping it fun and not too overpowering.

Overall, some of the things Gladwell touched upon I had previous knowledge about just from courses I have taken at UF, which is rather interesting, but I really enjoyed reading his book. It's definitely worth a read if you are someone who is dying to go viral or someone who has an idea that you think will be a hit.


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