Digital law of the few

From Wikinormous

Malcolm Gladwell presents in his book The Tipping Point (2000) the 80/20 rule, that most (80%) of the "work" is made by the minority (20%) of the participants. He describes some personalities which characterises the "few". He presents three major types:

  • The Connector - has a lot of friends and connections and moves between different circles in society
  • The Maven - has a lot of knowledge which he gladly shares
  • The Salesman - has the ability to convince or sell an idea or vogue to other persons


These characters are crucial to create the critical energy to reach the tipping point and get an idea, product or news to become epidemic. While a connector, maven or salesman can contribute to advance an idea or product, they become truly effective if they work together. (Gladwell does not discuss their co-operation as "social triangulation" see also triangulation, but it makes sense to treat the process as some kind of social triangulation.


Gladwell's book was released before Web 2.0 rushed into the scene of human interactivity, so he did not comment if the phenomenon of viral in the digital age needs the same triumverat of personalities, or there is a different set of personalities at work online.


Arguably, new structures like digital information transmission, in 2009 usually equating googling, has made the previous importance of the Mavens smaller, or maybe it has not? In a world where information is treated as existing only through web searches, the Mavens may hold their position as information brokers by collecting information from other sources as e.g.libraries.

The Tipping Point on Wikipedia <comments />