With 12 hours of solo driving to do over the previous 48 hours, I decided to re-listen to Malcom Gladwell's, The Tipping Point to pass time and see if anything new jumped out at me. If you are not familiar with it, The Tipping Point is one of those interesting thought starter books that you can listen to about once a year or so and it will blend with your additional experiences to create new synergies. It has been about 18 months since I listened to it last, so I was curious to see what would come popping out of my subconscious during the drive.
Sure enough, during the chapter on Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen, it seemed obvious that Twitter is an application that would attract all of these types of people, but especially Connectors and Mavens. Connectors are folks who like to meet new people, to "collect" contacts. Mavens are people with a passion for a topic and love to help other people. Mavens love to reach out and assist people, with no apparent benefit for themselves. If you have spent any time on Twitter, you have met people like this. @linnetwoods is one of my favorite connectors on Twitter, bringing together and introducing groups of people who would not have met each other without her intervention. Whoever started #followfriday is absolutely a connector and a salesman who encourages others to connect as well.
But Twitter is a congregating place for Mavens as well. This is the perfect space to find people asking for help and to be able to reach out to them. This fact is probably what led @yatpundit to complain about the hysteria that stormed when the Facebook TOS first changed a couple of weeks ago. With such a high concentration of Social Media Mavens on Twitter, you are bound to see a flurry of warnings and helpful hints when this sort of event occurs. But Tehnology Mavens are not the only ones hanging out on Twitter. I have seen helpful posts on topics ranging from coupon shopping to homebrewing. If I were a business looking to locate Mavens for my vertical, Twitter is one of the first places I would start to look.
Mr. Gladwell ends the book with the comment that he is not sure there is any sure fire way to locate Mavens, but I am beginning to be convinced that Twitter might very well get you 80% there. By starting with a twitter search to locate people talking about the topic you are interested in, then following this with some analysis on the posts of that subset to find the folks who are making helpful responses to the widest audience, you will end up with a list of the Mavens you are looking for. The perfect Maven trap.