Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Tipping TiddlyWiki - Part 1

I've finally got round to reading The Tipping Point, the compelling and popular book by Malcolm Gladwell, which looks as the trends and fashions which 'tip' and go mainstream, and the various forces at play when this happens. It's particularly relevant for me right now, because TiddlyWiki has several properties which are ripe for mainstream (it may already be there, depending on your definition of the term).

In the book, Gladwell talks about the three types of people involved when something explodes in popularity;
  • Mavens (people who have an almost obsessive interest in collecting detailed, expert knowledge and take pleasure in sharing this with their friends)
  • Connectors (people who have many more friends and acquaintances than the average Joe, and who are in a great position to pass on a message)
  • Salesmen (ignore the image which pops into your head; these are simply people who have a knack of taking a potentially complicated message, and tailoring it into a compelling 'sell' for the person they're talking to)
He also talks about the difference between something being contagious (where the message is compelling) and something being sticky (where the product is compelling). An interesting and critical distinction.

And most importantly, he talks about the power of context. It's human nature to label people with certain characteristics, such as "good", "unhelpful" or "generous", and these terms may apply in a general sense, but the same person might behave differently in different contexts.

TiddlyWiki has a diverse set of properties that appeal to different people in different ways. To my mind, the area where we can best improve the profile of TiddlyWiki - and potentially make it tip - is making it easier for the last group of people, the Salesmen, to describe or demonstrate the benefits of TiddlyWiki to people who might be interested. And perhaps this could happen in a context which makes TiddlyWiki particularly appealing.

More to follow....

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