In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell argues that social epidemics are driven in large part by the action of a tiny minority of special individuals, often called influentials, who are unusually informed, persuasive, or well-connected.
在《引爆流行》这本书中，作者 Malcolm Gladwell 认为社会流行潮流在很大程度上是由一小部分特殊个体的行为引起的。这些人就是人们常说的影响者。他们异乎寻常的博闻多识，能言善辩，人脉广泛。
The idea is intuitively compelling, but it doesn't explain how ideas actually spread.
The supposed importance of influentials derives from a plausible sounding but largely untested theory called the "two step flow of communication": Information flows from the media to the influentials and from them to everyone else.
Marketers have embraced the two-step flow because it suggests that if they can just find and influence the influentials, those selected people will do most of the work for them.
The theory also seems to explain the sudden and unexpected popularity of certain looks, brands, or neighborhoods.
In many such cases, a cursory search for causes finds that some small group of people was wearing, promoting, or developing whatever it is before anyone else paid attention.
Anecdotal evidence of this kind fits nicely with the idea that only certain special people can drive trends
In their recent work, however, some researchers have come up with the finding that influentials have far less impact on social epidemics than is generally supposed.
In fact, they don't seem to be required of all.
The researchers' argument stems from a simple observing about social influence, with the exception of a few celebrities like Oprah Winfrey-whose outsize presence is primarily a function of media, not interpersonal, influence-even the most influential members of a population simply don't interact with that many others.
研究者的观点源于对社会影响力的简单观察：除了少数像 Oprah Winfrey这样的名人之外（她强大的人气影响力主要来自媒体影响力，而非她与观众互动的人际影响力），即使人群中最有影响力的人也无法与那么多的"其他人"互动，从而引领潮流。
Yet it is precisely these non-celebrity influentials who, according to the two-step-flow theory, are supposed to drive social epidemics by influencing their friends and colleagues directly.
For a social epidemic to occur, however, each person so affected, must then influence his or her own acquaintances, who must in turn influence theirs, and so on;
and just how many others pay attention to each of these people has little to do with the initial influential.
If people in the network just two degrees removed from the initial influential prove resistant, for example, the cascade of change won't propagate very far or affect many people.
Building on the basic truth about interpersonal influence, the researchers studied the dynamics of social influence by conducting thousands of computer simulations of populations, manipulating a number of variables relating to people's ability to influence others and their tendency to be influenced.
They found that the principal requirement for what we call "global cascades"- the widespread propagation of influence through networks - is the presence not of a few influentials but, rather, of a critical mass of easily influenced people.
他们发现，人们所说的"全球连锁反应" -- 影响力通过（人际）网络进行广泛传播 -- 发生的主要前提，并不取决于是否存在着那么几个影响者，而主要取决于易受影响的人们是否达到了临界数量。