How much online influence do you have?

A number of years back, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point which presents his thesis on why things “go viral”. Its a very powerful book, even if it has received some interesting criticism. Bells started ringing for me as soon as I started reading a recent publication from a group of students at Oxford University titled The Dynamics of Protest Recruitment through an Online Network. The paper is a bold attempt to monitor the spread of information about a protest on Twitter, and it draws some interesting conclusions based on the results.

Perhaps most importantly, these sorts of studies will help the marketing army to re-evaluate how they carry out their campaigns, but I also hope that it convinces some people that they should just give up tweeting because nobody is really that interested.

The researchers behind the paper focussed on the surge of protest mobilization that took place in Spain in May 2011 and resulted in a fairly large camped protest in the centers of many of the major cities in Spain, including the Plaza del Sol in Madrid. During the period of a month, starting on the 25th April 2011 (20 days before the mass mobilisations started) and finishing on 25 May 2011 (3 days after the national elections), over 87 000 Twitter users were tracked for nearly 600,000 protest messages. Through the Twitter API, it was possible for the researchers to determine who each user follows and who in turn follows that user. By following how messages spread through this network of relationships, they determined which nodes were most effective at user ‘activation’.


http://memeburn.com/2012/03/how-much-online-influence-do-you-have/

A number of years back, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point which presents his thesis on why things “go viral”. Its a very powerful book, even if it has received some interesting criticism. Bells started ringing for me as soon as I started reading a recent publication from a group of students at Oxford University titled The Dynamics of Protest Recruitment through an Online Network. The paper is a bold attempt to monitor the spread of information about a protest on Twitter, and it draws some interesting conclusions based on the results.

Perhaps most importantly, these sorts of studies will help the marketing army to re-evaluate how they carry out their campaigns, but I also hope that it convinces some people that they should just give up tweeting because nobody is really that interested.

The researchers behind the paper focussed on the surge of protest mobilization that took place in Spain in May 2011 and resulted in a fairly large camped protest in the centers of many of the major cities in Spain, including the Plaza del Sol in Madrid. During the period of a month, starting on the 25th April 2011 (20 days before the mass mobilisations started) and finishing on 25 May 2011 (3 days after the national elections), over 87 000 Twitter users were tracked for nearly 600,000 protest messages. Through the Twitter API, it was possible for the researchers to determine who each user follows and who in turn follows that user. By following how messages spread through this network of relationships, they determined which nodes were most effective at user ‘activation’. Leer más “How much online influence do you have?”

La regla de las 10.000 horas, ¿puede aprenderse la genialidad?

Algunos creen que los número uno son dotados por naturaleza, gente tocada por la “varita mágica”. Pero la explicación real del éxito es menos glamorosa. El genio podría aprenderse en 10.000 horas de entrenamiento…
Por Néstor Gutman

Nuestra sociedad admira a los número uno. Deportistas, actores y CEOs de alto rendimiento se revisten de un brillo inalcanzable para el común de los mortales.

Con frecuencia, justificamos nuestra gris realidad con la frase: “Son unos pocos afortunados, tocados por la varita mágica del talento innato”.

Pero, ¿es realmente así? ¿El Olimpo está reservado para una elite de dotados por naturaleza?

Algunas investigaciones recientes señalan que se trata de una idealización. La explicación real del éxito es mucho menor glamorosa. Y, lo mejor, es que todos podemos formar parte de “los elegidos”.


http://www.materiabiz.com/

Algunos creen que los número uno son dotados por naturaleza, gente tocada por la “varita mágica”. Pero la explicación real del éxito es menos glamorosa. El genio podría aprenderse en 10.000 horas de entrenamiento…

Por Néstor Gutman

Nuestra sociedad admira a los número uno. Deportistas, actores y CEOs de alto rendimiento se revisten de un brillo inalcanzable para el común de los mortales. 

Con frecuencia, justificamos nuestra gris realidad con la frase: “Son unos pocos afortunados, tocados por la varita mágica del talento innato”.

Pero, ¿es realmente así? ¿El Olimpo está reservado para una elite de dotados por naturaleza?

Algunas investigaciones recientes señalan que se trata de una idealización. La explicación real del éxito es mucho menor glamorosa. Y, lo mejor, es que todos podemos formar parte de “los elegidos”. Leer más “La regla de las 10.000 horas, ¿puede aprenderse la genialidad?”

Recognition: How the revolution IS being tweeted | [Abstract]

A little recognition goes a long way

That tiny sliver of recognition gave me the impetus to start looking into something I suspected at first was absurd, and it ended up changing my life. Without it, I might have gone on pursuing my career as a rational manager, continuing to do what everyone else was doing. I might have gone on thinking that storytelling was an interesting and clever trick, but nothing serious.

Einstein said, insightfully, “If at first an idea isn’t absurd, there is no hope for it.” Any really good, big new idea at first is going to seem absurd to the person who has stumbled on it. It takes courage to set aside conventional wisdom, to abandon what everyone knows to be true, and start pursuing a path that you and everyone else think is absurd. And yet a little recognition—even a sliver—can be the nudge that does the trick. Recognition can be the element that makes the difference between major innovation and passively going along with the flow.

What’s interesting is to note how slight the nudge of recognition was. It wasn’t a big fanfare or a public accolade. It was a quiet, private one-minute conversation with someone I had never met. True, it came from someone in an organization I viewed with respect. The conversation was merely a hint that I had stumbled on something that other people thought interesting, something worth looking into. And yet that slight nudge propelled me into action and changed my life, and ultimately, in a modest way, the entire world: unlike ten years ago, leadership storytelling is now a generally accepted part of the essential skills of a leader.

Why Malcolm Gladwell Got It Wrong

I am the biggest fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing. But his recent article in the New Yorker, “Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted” seriously underestimates the impact of even weak recognition. It was great news that he highlighted a wonderful book like The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, but sad that he got it all so wrong.

First mistake: His argument is that the platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter and Facebook connect people who may have never met.

The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvellous efficiency. It’s terrific at the diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world. But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism.

This is where Gladwell makes his first mistake: “Weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism.”

What he misses is that the difference between acting and not-acting is very slim.

Often people have ideas, have passion. All they may need is a little nudge to push them into action.

Second mistake: Gladwell correctly recognizes the weaknesses of networks:

Because networks don’t have a centralized leadership structure and clear lines of authority, they have real difficulty reaching consensus and setting goals. They can’t think strategically; they are chronically prone to conflict and error. How do you make difficult choices about tactics or strategy or philosophical direction when everyone has an equal say?

But what Gladwell misses is that networks can give individual leaders the confidence that comes from knowing that they are not alone. Their ideas may sound absurd, at first glance, but they are not crazy. They may give the innovative person the little nudge that they need to move into action.

Third mistake: Gladwell imputes views to “the evangelists of social media” that no sensible person ever held:

The evangelists of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960.

No sensible person ever equated friends on Facebook with real friends in person. This is straw man argumentation at its worst.

Fourth mistake: These poor enthusiasts of social media, he writes, just don’t understand:

Some of this grandiosity is to be expected. Innovators tend to be solipsists. They often want to cram every stray fact and experience into their new model.

The same objection has been made to every human invention since the wheel. “Everything is now different!” Well, yes. A certain amount of grandiosity is to be expected. And warranted. In fact, it’s the very grandiosity that we find in Gladwell’s own writing about innovation in The Tipping Point and all his other articles and books. Innovation does warrant some grandiosity.


(…)
Full article:
http://stevedenning.typepad.com/steve_denning/2010/10/recognition-how-the-revolution-is-being-tweeted.html

A little recognition goes a long way

That tiny sliver of recognition gave me the impetus to start looking into something I suspected at first was absurd, and it ended up changing my life. Without it, I might have gone on pursuing my career as a rational manager, continuing to do what everyone else was doing. I might have gone on thinking that storytelling was an interesting and clever trick, but nothing serious.

Einstein said, insightfully, “If at first an idea isn’t absurd, there is no hope for it.” Any really good, big new idea at first is going to seem absurd to the person who has stumbled on it. It takes courage to set aside conventional wisdom, to abandon what everyone knows to be true, and start pursuing a path that you and everyone else think is absurd. And yet a little recognition—even a sliver—can be the nudge that does the trick. Recognition can be the element that makes the difference between major innovation and passively going along with the flow.

What’s interesting is to note how slight the nudge of recognition was. It wasn’t a big fanfare or a public accolade. It was a quiet, private one-minute conversation with someone I had never met. True, it came from someone in an organization I viewed with respect. The conversation was merely a hint that I had stumbled on something that other people thought interesting, something worth looking into. And yet that slight nudge propelled me into action and changed my life, and ultimately, in a modest way, the entire world: unlike ten years ago, leadership storytelling is now a generally accepted part of the essential skills of a leader. Leer más “Recognition: How the revolution IS being tweeted | [Abstract]”

Social Media Reinvents Social Activism For Strong Relationships: My Critique Of Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker Article

Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker states that the new tools of social media have failed to reinvent social activism. He wrote a long piece explaining why he believes that relationships formed within social media are weak relationships, and used examples from the Greensboro sit-ins, and the crisis in Moldova and Iran to support his position.

He argued that without real commitment social activism cannot exist because there’s no real commitment to other individuals involved in a cause, and without that commitment in the face of the higher costs of getting involved people will drop out of a cause.

High Stakes Require Strong Relationships

Gladwell uses the sit-ins from Greensboro, NC as an example of social activism where high stakes were involved, people had to make strong commitments to the cause because the consequences of being involved were as high as physical danger and even death. And that those most involved in the sit-ins were supported by small networks of people who were connected through close relationships. Gladwell argues that because relationships formed online are loose relationships those relationships are not highly committed relationships, and any real requests for social action will fail because of the weak relationships formed within social media between people and organizations.

I agree with Gladwell, he was right, social media can be a medium where your ties to people are weak, but I also believe he misses an important factor with the use of social media. Most people have strong ties with a small group of friends, colleagues and family within their social networks. Those relationships are just as important today as they were in 1933 in the depths of the Great Depression, or in 1960 during the Greensboro sit-ins.


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Posted by John Cass | http://pr.typepad.com | © 2003-10 John Cass

Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker states that the new tools of social media have failed to reinvent social activism. He wrote a long piece explaining why he believes that relationships formed within social media are weak relationships, and used examples from the Greensboro sit-ins, and the crisis in Moldova and Iran to support his position.

He argued that without real commitment social activism cannot exist because there’s no real commitment to other individuals involved in a cause, and without that commitment in the face of the higher costs of getting involved people will drop out of a cause.

High Stakes Require Strong Relationships

Gladwell uses the sit-ins from Greensboro, NC as an example of social activism where high stakes were involved, people had to make strong commitments to the cause because the consequences of being involved were as high as physical danger and even death. And that those most involved in the sit-ins were supported by small networks of people who were connected through close relationships. Gladwell argues that because relationships formed online are loose relationships those relationships are not highly committed relationships, and any real requests for social action will fail because of the weak relationships formed within social media between people and organizations.

I agree with Gladwell, he was right, social media can be a medium where your ties to people are weak, but I also believe he misses an important factor with the use of social media. Most people have strong ties with a small group of friends, colleagues and family within their social networks. Those relationships are just as important today as they were in 1933 in the depths of the Great Depression, or in 1960 during the Greensboro sit-ins. Leer más “Social Media Reinvents Social Activism For Strong Relationships: My Critique Of Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker Article”

Ideas Are Cheap

The problem for innovation isn’t that we don’t have enough ideas. We might not have enough good ones, but there are always plenty around.

But to innovate, we need great ideas, we need some way to figure out which ones to pursue (a selection process), and we have to figure out how to get the ideas to spread. Successful innovation takes all three.

I’ve got some ideas about how to get better ideas, but before I write them up, I have to figure out which ones are the good ones. Then I have to write them up in a way that makes sense.


About the author
http://timkastelle.org

http://timkastelle.orgYou can contact us through Tim at:  t.kastelle@business.uq.edu.au

I’ve said it before.

Andrew Hargadon has said it too – and in doing so he quotes Malcolm Gladwell saying it too.

Now one of my favourite current authors Charlie Stross says it as well: ideas are cheap.

Ideas are cheap.

They’re so damn easy to come by that I have difficulty understanding why so many people seem to want to ask me where I get my ideas from. All I do is read widely, and periodically bang a couple of random ideas together until I get a spark. It takes, on average, six to nine months to write a novel; but in brainstorming mode I can come up with half a dozen book-sized ideas in a week.

I have more ideas for books than I have time to write them. Also, some of these ideas are of … dubious, shall we say … commercial value. Leer más “Ideas Are Cheap”

The Real Secret to Freelance Success

Why do so many freelancers fail while others who face even greater obstacles succeed? Is it natural talent? Is it hard work? Is it sheer persistence?

I find these questions absolutely fascinating. That’s why I’ve spent a great part of my adult life studying freelance success.

But it wasn’t until I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers that much of what I had learned came together into one unifying principle:

Success only happens at the intersection of preparation and opportunity!

To better explain this, let’s take this discussion outside of freelancing for a minute because there’s a fascinating lesson here.


Why do so many freelancers fail while others who face even greater obstacles succeed? Is it natural talent? Is it hard work? Is it sheer persistence?

I find these questions absolutely fascinating. That’s why I’ve spent a great part of my adult life studying freelance success.

But it wasn’t until I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers that much of what I had learned came together into one unifying principle:

Success only happens at the intersection of preparation and opportunity!

To better explain this, let’s take this discussion outside of freelancing for a minute because there’s a fascinating lesson here. Leer más “The Real Secret to Freelance Success”

Hard Work: What’s It Good For?

A meme has been floating around for some time now about hard work – and how it is overrated. I’ve come across a number of “How I Work” articles by prominent entrepreneurs that talk about the merits of “sometimes” heading into the office, watching lots of television, and questioning the need for a 40-hour workweek.
Many of these articles profile people who have built multi-million dollar businesses – companies that required a 24/7 work ethic during the start-up phase. No doubt, in the early days, these same folks had rigorous schedules, spent long nights overcoming major technical challenges, and developed loyal communities – user by user – through ceaseless efforts.

So why all this talk about chilling out from those who must have worked tirelessly to get where they are? Something doesn’t add up. This trendy new approach to work seems absent of the ambition and relentless drive necessary to make ideas happen.

Certainly, it’s possible that these successful entrepreneurs have started to coast a bit – and with millions of customers, it is their prerogative to do so. I’m also aware that as we get older, start families, and settle down, it’s natural to think about how to work smarter. A 24/7 schedule isn’t sustainable forever. But I still can’t help but wonder if these entrepreneurs are sharing the right message?

So why all this talk about chilling out from those who must have worked tirelessly to get where they are? Something doesn’t add up.

The push towards tremendous achievements – the determination we see in visionaries ranging from Steve Jobs to your everyday start-up founder who quits her day job to pursue a dream – is what drives bold entrepreneurial pursuits. Such journeys, I have found, require incredible amounts of sheer energy, focus, and time.

Having recently concluded four years of interviews for a book on the topic of making ideas happen, I can say one thing for sure: Hard work is the single greatest competitive advantage. Ideas don’t happen because they are great. The genius is in the execution, aka the “99% perspiration” that has become this site’s namesake.

Perspiration implies sweat, self-discipline, and (yes) occasional exhaustion. I think this is what Malcolm Gladwell teaches us in his book Outliers when he proposes that a true mastery of anything requires 10,000 hours of doing it. There are no shortcuts to lasting success.

Hard work is the single greatest competitive advantage.


A meme has been floating around for some time now about hard work – and how it is overrated. I’ve come across a number of “How I Work” articles by prominent entrepreneurs that talk about the merits of “sometimes” heading into the office, watching lots of television, and questioning the need for a 40-hour workweek.
Many of these articles profile people who have built multi-million dollar businesses – companies that required a 24/7 work ethic during the start-up phase. No doubt, in the early days, these same folks had rigorous schedules, spent long nights overcoming major technical challenges, and developed loyal communities – user by user – through ceaseless efforts.

So why all this talk about chilling out from those who must have worked tirelessly to get where they are? Something doesn’t add up. This trendy new approach to work seems absent of the ambition and relentless drive necessary to make ideas happen.
Leer más “Hard Work: What’s It Good For?”