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The Tipping Point

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The Tipping Point The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell is the explanation of an idea. Gladwell writes that small variables in everyday life can make quick and drastic changes in social situations. He refers to these situations as 'epidemics.' This is because when so many people can get caught up in a movement, it spreads like a virus. Gladwell uses Paul Revere as a prime example of the first key player in a word-of-mouth epidemic. Paul was a very social man and so when he rode through town calling for alarm, people listened. Paul Revere is an example of a person called a "Connector." Without these people, social epidemics can not be raised. Connectors are highly networked people. They not only have a lot of friends, but even more acquaintances. These types of relationships are referred to as weak and strong bonds. Strong bonds are with friends. Weak bonds are with acquaintances. Weak bonds are more important than strong bonds, because acquaintances allow connectors to branch out further in social circles and meet different kinds of people. ...read more.


Market research is the most powerful tool in finding out what sticks in the viewers or consumers' minds. Sesame Street and Blues Clues share the trait of repetition, which is key in making ideas "stick." The next concept covered was "Context." These two chapters addressed that a social epidemic is strongly based on environment, rather than character. Gladwell states that in minor changing of variables in an environment where there is an epidemic can reverse the epidemic. An example is removing graffiti from the side of a building. Gladwell talks about crime, stating criminals commit crime based on their perception of their environment. Behavior, he says, is in social context. People can act out of character in situations that do not reflect the norm. The relationship between prisoners and guards for example can prove to be violent or crude. A historical example would be average German citizens transforming into murderers in concentration camps during the Holocaust. The content of communication may be powerful enough to persuade a person into an action in response. ...read more.


Gladwell uses the argument that smoking was never a "cool" habit, but select individuals who are "cool," smoke. This is why, he says, that the current anti-smoking movement is backfiring. It's not attacking the correct issue. There is a direct correlation of psychiatric illness such as mental depression in smokers. There are also a group of smokers who have not crossed a tipping point threshold number of cigarettes that would make them addicted. These people are approximately the equivalent of social drinkers with a controlled habit. They are called "Chippers." The question Gladwell poses at the end of the case is: which is the more effective tactic we ought to take in the movement against smoking? Perhaps cutting out Salesmen or Stickiness may possibly make more smokers into Chippers, and that may reduce the problem. Gladwell conducted that social change is entirely possible due to the many variables such as the law of the few and environmental changes that can either begin or reverse an epidemic. Due to the highly sensitive nature of these variables, social epidemics can be controlled. Key players in certain social epidemics include Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen. With the right manipulation, social epidemics can infect a wide variety of people through multiple mediums. ...read more.

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