Well, this explains a lot . . .
1) New ideas often take unusual paths on the way to becoming accepted.
2) A relatively small number of people could actually move the dial on an idea.
Now comes scientific evidence that backs up Gladwell’s observations even more definitively than his book.
We even have a number: 10%
One out of every 10 people . . . which is about:
30,700,000 US citizens
599,000 Missouri residents
98,900 St. Louis County residents
2,600 Maryland Heights, Missouri residents
30 people in my home church
4 people in one of my local professional organization
(all numbers from US Census bureau as of 2010)
Some of these still seem like pretty large numbes, but I believe I can recruit enough folks to affect some of the smaller groups:).
The point revealed by the research is that once 10% of the population believes something, that idea “catches fire” and spreads much more quickly. Less than 10% means that the idea does not spread or spreads so slowly as to be inconsequential.
This has some interesting implications for social interactions and might give new credence to previously ignored concepts or beliefs.
“Twenty-five percent . . . said they do not believe humans landed on the moon” (this in spite of all the trash we left to prove we’d been there)
“Majority believe in ghosts” (actually the numbers are slightly less than half, but you get the point)
“The percentage . . . who say Mr. Obama was likely born abroad . . . 10 percent in the new poll“ (note: down from 20% in earlier poll . . . sorry, Donald)
Well, apparently having 10% or more of some group believes an idea does not always mean that idea has legitimate credence.
Here’s one more little statistic:
If I were a betting guy, I’ll put my money on this idea. Way more than 10% and it makes more sense than the other three, in my humble opinion.
You can read about the research here: “Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas”
Apparently Margaret Mead was right all along:
A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Recalculating my odds in the Heartland . . .