In applying The Tipping Point to social media, we’ve covered the power of one message (the Stickiness Factor) or one person (the Law of the Few) to “tip” your campaign toward epidemic “viral” proportions. But the third and final agent of change (the Power of Context) referenced in Malcolm Gladwell’s book is all about community:
“If you want to bring about a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior, a change that persists and serves as an example to others, you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.”
You already do this in your social media communities – building relationships with a group of people who share your interests, background and/or goals. The right message, shared by the right person, within this community speaks to the Power of Context.
The Broken Windows Theory
Based on studies of the rise and fall of crime epidemics, Gladwell points to the Power of Context as it relates to the Broken Windows theory:
“If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge…. Broken Windows theory and the Power of Context are one in the same. They are both based on the premise that an epidemic can be reversed, can be tipped, by tinkering with the smallest of details of the immediate environment.”