Friday, April 16, 2010

The tipping point

This post is inspired by two things: (1) the incredibly diverse comments I received on this post a few days ago, and (2) a book I am reading right now called The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. This link goes to the Wikipedia description of the book and the author's main premises, so you can make a decision about whether you want to read it. It's pretty interesting, if you like to think about these things.

In the post about "Followers and Comments," I noticed one very important trend in the comments, and that is we really don't know what any of us expected when we started blogging, and we don't really know what the "rules" are. That's because there really aren't any, and some people who "tag" others or present another blog with an award, with instructions, are also not sure what's expected. I know the first award I received asked me to tell 7 things about myself that are not well known and tag 7 other blogs with the award.

Well, this was way tough and time-consuming, but I did it because I thought maybe I would be thrown out of the blogosphere if I didn't. A little easier to handle type of tagging you might receive is to find a picture in a particular folder either in Picasa (if you're a blogspot blogger) or in your photo albums and post it, telling a little about the picture. I think all these memes and tags come from other bloggers casting about for interesting topics, or wanting to know more about their followers. I'm actually not quite sure.

The book is fascinating, when you think of our blogosphere and contemplate its power. The book introduces a concept of how things are passed along from person to person, like viruses, fads, and fashions. People are categorized as being Connectors, Mavens, or Salesmen.

From Chap. 2,  The Tipping Point (Gladwell, 2000) (click to enlarge)
If you were to study the comments following that post, you would find a representative or two from each of these categories. What fascinates me is how we are exploding our ideas so quickly and efficiently through the blogosphere, which never ceases to amaze me with its power. The whole idea of a "tipping point" (this link takes you to the Wikipedia page that explains what that means in physics, sociology, and climatology) is perfectly illustrated in our blogging world.

I don't want to belabor the point I'm making here, because one thing I've discovered is that the posts I enjoy the most give me something to chew on and then present some ways to explore the concept further. My point: WE are at the tipping point in the blogging world, and where we are going is beginning to coalesce, but I don't recognize what it is, or what it means, quite yet. But I'm sure having the time of my life!


  1. Sounds like an interesting book. As I read your description, certain people in my life leapt to mind, mostly notably my son Ed (the middle one) who is definitely a connector. He spends almost all of his time engaged in conversation with other people either directly or on his mobile phone. He is good at it and consequently a good man manager.
    Blessings, Star

  2. This does sound like an interesting book, I always enjoy the dynamics of social interaction. This is a good topic to chew on for awhile. But it all comes down to the fact that like you I am having a blast!

  3. I so enjoy blogging has added a new dimension to my life and retirement.
    When I first started, it reminded me more of way back "in the day" when we had penpals and would wait anxiously for an answer in the mail from our last letter,from someone we had never met in person. The addictive nature of blogging is that we can get instant feedback and meet so many more people too to connect with.

  4. The Tipping Point is an excellent book. All his books are good.

    I also wonder where we're going with blogging but it's too soon to know. It will be interesting to know how the next generation will deal with blogging when they write the history books.

  5. I am just catching up from a week away and I had to go back and read your first post on following and commenting. It was great. You really summed it up well.
    I agree with your statement of having no rules in this big blogging world. It is a mad free for all. We learn as we go and I think we get better too. The best part of blogging is meeting wonderful friends like you along the way.

  6. I enjoyed the Wikipedia article...there's a lot to think about1 I agree that we all change our blog goals over time. I was only going to write about my grandkids for a few family members, but one thing led to another.... I think blogging is a very useful tool for all kinds of purposes.

  7. What an informative post...and the book looks terrific! So fascinating! I'm thankful for blogging because it allowed me to meet a wonderful lady known as D-Jan! Love, Janine XO

  8. It amazes me how social sites have changed our world. I love having dear friends in different countries and cultures. I too am having a blast!

  9. Retired One! You are so right about Pen Pals! And yes D-Jan, I like to read something that makes me laugh or go somewhere else or think a new thought. By the way, we have that book too!

  10. I agree that part of the problem is that we don't know what we were looking for when we began blogging. I think the fact that our reasons for blogging may change also plays a part.

    The book sounds good; I'll have to add it to my list:)

  11. I almost gave up blogging when Dad died, but you and my dear blog friends were always in my mind. I tried not to connect to the internet but it didn't help. So here I am, connecting to my dear friends again, learning a lot of things everyday, seeing places that I have never been and I love it.


  12. I've read three of Malclom Gladwell's books. All of them are good.
    I thought when I started blogging the I would write more political essays. But I noticed that when I did, some were afraid to comment, some were just turned off, and others said I was preaching to the choir. That doesn't mean I will never write another, because writing does help me clarify my thinking, but obviously they will be infrequent. There is already so much on the internet of that sort of thing.
    So my niche seems to be writing about my every day life, illustrated with photos. Hardly earthshaking, but then we seem to have enough natural disasters for that lately anyway.
    And I have stopped worring about the "rules". We should all just do what we want.

  13. I can't seem to decide wether I'm a connector or a maven... somewhere in between I think! Depends on which friends you ask! ;o) My mom's definitely a connector. I've always envied the ease with which she strikes up interesting conversations with total strangers, I'm way to shy and am lousy at small talk!

    I still don't know why I blog. Sometimes for me (to give me pause to think back on books and movies I've just experienced, or to rant and rave), but mostly because since most of my readers are from across the pond I like the idea of introducing them to certain aspects of Spain (and other European countries) they're probably not familiar with! I love travelling and immersing myself in another culture, so I project that interest onto others. Then there are my movie/book posts which are just an extension of friends always asking me what I thought of such and such film, or asking for viewing/reading recomendations. Funny thing is, none of my friends have clicked with the blogging world! There might be a few hidden readers from my "real" life, but they never leave any sign of their presence...

    PS: do you think you could add the "sign up for comments by email" option? On my blog and certain others when I comment there's a box that says "email follow up comments to me", it saves having to remember which posts one has commented on in order to go back and see what others have replied...
    you have a "subscribe by email" link down here, I'll click on that to see if it gives me posts or comments. I don't need to be emailed posts since I've got you in my reader! :p

  14. ok, forget my last paragraph! clicking on the "email" thing gave me a message "follow-up comments will be sent to.... moi!" problem solved! now I have to go sign up for the comments on the other post... :p


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