Gladwell Denies Social Media Any Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell Malcolm Gladwell’s been wrong before, when he disagreed with Chris Anderson’s thesis in his book Free: The Future of a Radical Price. But this time, it’s a little stranger… this time I have to wonder what he’s thinking in his latest piece, “Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted,” where he discounts social networks, saying they cannot product the kind of passion necessary to drive social change because they really only affect weak ties issues.

I guess I’m not the only one who’s baffled. In a Guardian article responding to Gladwell’s, Clay Shirky is quoted as calling it “a weird article,” saying that

Setting A Book Free

Sometimes a book needs to be set free. tribes_cover When I received my second copy of Seth Godin‘s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, it was with the proviso that it be passed along. Anyone who pre-ordered the book and joined Triiibes (as I did, though I don’t hang there much) was sent a second copy of the book as a gift and told to pass it along to someone who needed to start a tribe.

I did this, and it’s a good example on Seth’s part of giving something for free in the interest (at least partially) of increasing sales. More exposure to your message, even for free, in the short term will mean more ongoing sales in the long term. It’s Seth Godin putting his money where his mouth is (before the fact), and I agree with him on this one. Apparently, so did his publisher.