How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Early knowers are people who know about things before most other people. They have their 'ear to the ground' and are ahead of the curve -- at least in knowing.
There are a number of factors that increase the chance of a person being an early knower.
More formal education
People who are educate learn to learn. They are accustomed to new ideas and quickly making sense of more difficult concepts.
Higher socioeconomic status
People with more money may well have got there by being smart, innovating and listening for new ideas.
More exposure to mass media channels
Those who look at TV and other media have greater opportunity to see news items, product placements, discussions and so on about new ideas.
More exposure to interpersonal channels
Even more influential than external media, discussions with people you know (and the internet has hugely helped this) helps you catch up with what is currently of interest in social circles.
More social participation
Actually getting involved with others increases social bonding and trust, and hence facilitates further the spread of ideas.
A blogger scans the web for new ideas to discuss.
An older person joins local clubs rather than sit at home.
A commuter scans newspapers and then talks to fellow travellers.
Early knowers are not necessarily early adopters, although by knowing about something early they have the opportunity to adopt before others. Knowledge is power. It increases choice and lets you decide what and how you will use the power it gives. For this reason laggards may be early knowers as they keep their ears and eyes open for things that might disrupt their comfortable status quo.
Types of knowledge that may be sought in a diffusion situation include: