The Tipping Point: Connectors

In his chapter on "The Law of the Few", Gladwell describes three types of people who have inordinate influence in spreading ideas. The first of these is the Connector. This is the person who manages to keep in touch with large numbers of people and thereby create bridges between diverse social worlds.

The thing which really inspired me in this chapter, was to be a better acquaintance, I quote:

Most of us, I think, shy away from this kind of cultivation of acquaintances. We have our circle of friends, to whom we are devoted. Acquaintances we keep at arm's length. The reason we don't send birthday cards to people we don't really care a great deal about is that we don't want to feel obliged to have dinner with them or see a movie with them or visit them when they're sick. the purpose of making an acquaintance, for most of us, is to evaluate whether we want to turn that person into a friend; we don't feel we have the time or energy to maintain meaningful contact with everyone. (pp. 45-46)


When it comes to finding out about new jobs - or, for that matter, new information, or new ideas - "weak ties" are always more important than strong ties. Your friends, after all, occupy the same world that oyu do. They might work with you, or live near you, and go to the same churches, schools, or parties. How much, then, would they know that you wouldn't know? Your acquaintances, on the other hand, by definition occupy a very different world than you. They are much more likely to know something you don't. To capture this apparent paradox, Granovetter coined a marvelous phrase: the strength of weak ties. (p. 54)