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Contact Frequency

 

Disciplines > Communication > Diffusion > Contact Frequency

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Some people take a long time to decide to buy things or adopt ideas. In fact for many of us, there are so many new ideas and products floating around we do not pay much attention until we have heard about it multiple times.

Each of us tends to have a preferred number of contacts with an idea before we investigate further, and then may need another set of closer connections until we buy in to it and start talking about it with others.

Example

A person hears of a new and desirable phone. They do not start asking about it until three of their friends have told them it is good.

A person hears of a new statue in town. They do not go and see it until five people have told them about it. Then they start telling others about it.

Discussion

For ideas and information to spread, people have to talk or enquire about them, and some need to have more contact than others before they have the confidence to pass the idea on.

Until they are proven attractive, ideas can be seen as threats and the number of repetitions required can two or three for some people and twenty or thirty for others, depending on their risk bias. The number also may vary with the attractiveness of an idea. You only need to hear a good joke once to decide to pass it on, but will need more evidence of others enjoying it for one which you do not find funny.

Getting an idea going is a little bit like inertia. If you try to push a car along a level road, it is difficult to get going but once it is moving it becomes a lot easier. This is caused by the initial period when many people are evaluating it and are not yet ready to pass it along.

See also

Repetition principle

 

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