Malcom Gladwell, Mavens, Connectors, and Digg

So I’m finishing up Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point before my trip to Pubcon next week where’s he’s the keynote speaker. Now if you are serious about real marketing (not the push button kind) this book is required reading, you really get an understanding about how viral marketing works. Which leads me to one of the biggest viral marketing tools that should be on everyone’s mind Digg.

Two of the kinds of people Gladwell mentions are Mavens, and Connectors. While my explanations are nowhere near as good as Gladwell’s I’ll give it a shot. Connectors are people who know lot’s of people. My ex-brother-in-law is a connector. We went on vacation once to Hershey Park and he ran into someone he knew from New York. We went to vacation in Virginia and again he ran into someone he knew. All of us have at least one or two connectors in our lives, we call them up when we need “a guy” and he knows somebody. Mavens are sort of the opposite, mavens know lot’s of stuff. It’s not just lot’s of stuff it’s in depth passionate knowledge of stuff. The thing that makes them great is they are “infectious” with their knowledge they want share it with you and make sure you use it (sometimes to the point of being rather annoying about it). Now when a maven passes something along through a connector we reach that magic moment when something takes on a life of it’s own and goes viral.

This connector maven relationship is one of the things that made Digg so successful. Mavens come in share links about web pages they are passionate about. Digg takes on the role of connector and alerts other mavens to the idea, and things move at internet speed. Because mavens have a voracious knowledge for things they are passionate about there is no such thing as information overload. Regular folks would have gotten tired of CSS, Ajax and Web 2.0 articles a long time ago, but true digg mavens remain unsatiated.

How can you use this to your advantage, by giving them what they want. Build you dating site with cool css tabs and write a tutorial on how you did it. Make your real estate site all web 2.0-ish. Appeal to everyone’s desire to be the next ‘kareoke William Hung’. You may think it’s dumb, but really does it matter?

Heck if it really does matter to you 6 months later when everyone’s forgotten about ‘your next big thing’, 301 all of the incoming links to your herbal phentermine site (oops did I just say that …).

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